For families with several mouths to feed, keeping to the grocery budget is critical. Perfecting the process of shopping for just the right amount of food — in order to maximize your dollars and avoid having to throw any food away — is a challenge for most folks, especially when juggling work, family commitments and more. Here are several ways to help you buy just the right amount of food and therefore help you stick to your grocery budget.
1. Buy Less More Often
This may seem like a no-brainer, but honing your shopping list so each item can be used economically is quite a feat. One way to avoid over-shopping is to adopt a European style of shopping — that is, making more trips to the grocery store each week. When shopping, put fewer items in your cart and see how much further one load of groceries lasts. Of course, this may not be feasible for everyone. Factor in the additional cost of gas to decide whether this tactic is right for you.
2. Get Creative with Your Groceries
Rather than opting for takeout because your cupboards don’t appear to have anything to cook up, take the time to delve deep into your pantry and start thinking creatively about the various ingredients it holds. More often than not, there’s usually a meal in there. It may not result in the most gourmet dinner, but you’ll likely be well-fed and happy to have saved money. Keep your pantry stocked with a few canned goods like tomatoes, beans and broths for the days when fresh items have run out.
3. Buy Frozen Produce
Most frozen produce is flash frozen just after being picked at its peak ripeness. This helps retain the same nutrients you’d get from fresh items in the produce section. Produce goes bad the fastest, so having frozen options available is a good way to add fiber and vitamins to your meal when pickings are slim. Toss some frozen spinach leaves into a tomato sauce, or blend up a variety of frozen fruits into a refreshing smoothie.
4. Keep Your Fridge Organized
Just as you have your week’s activities laid out in your planner, organize your refrigerator for maximum efficiency. Keep perishables in plain view so you’ll be reminded to munch on that celery and hummus dip before they spoil. Start a routine where once a week you check the quality and expiration dates of foods in the fridge, and make a point to use them before they go bad.
5. Find Grocery Discounts
The supermarket is home to a constant rotation of slashed prices. It’s easy to jump at a sale, but the discount may be for an item you don’t buy often. If you haven’t figured out ways to incorporate this cheaper item into a new recipe ahead of time, your purchase may go to waste. Planning ahead will help you avoid an ingredient spoiling in your fridge.
When you use Zipongo.com, you can easily find which healthy items are on sale at your favorite grocery stores. You can see when the sales end, and think about what dish you’ll make before you head to the store.
With these tips, you can begin to think about the best ways to update your shopping habits and allow you to stay on your grocery budget. Do you have any helpful hints to add to the list?