I am not an expert; but I have been making effort to save from grocery budget and limit food waste. These two goals together have helped me to try and find out ways that were useful in my journey. Here what I found are useful practices:
1. Follow the sales: Take advantage of the flyers that appear at your door steps. If that is not an option for you, do not despair – the majority of the stores have e-flyers that can make this exercise quite easy.
2. Shop at variety of places: I am not saying go travel 30 min to a store just to pick up a cartoon of milk. But if there are items that are on sale at different stores and if they are practical options to do so, you may want to consider visiting them. Often times, different stores have different items on weekly sales.
3. Buy bulk: Consider this if you are certain that you will consume the product. Dry food, like rice, pasta, legumes, and canned goods are good examples. Fresh produce usually does not last too long, unless they are dried, frozen, or canned.
4. Use coupons: Whether they come in the inserts, news papers, or apps, you can use coupons to save a dime or two.
5. Use loyalty cards: Many stores offer their own or main stream loyalty cards to their customers. The points accumulate and can give you a free item or two.
6. Freeze food: You can freeze almost any of the veggies or fruits with some practice. Blanching is a good way to preserve veggies, for example.
7. Freeze meals: Freeze extra portions of meals for future consumption.
8. Take an inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry: Know what you already have. This helps you to not only appreciate what you already have, but also to identify what you really need.
9. Make your own pickles, jams, peanut butter, sauces, etc.
10. Prepare meals from scratch
11. Bake your own bread: this may be intimidating to many, but it is a lot of fun! It is quite affordable and healthy too 🙂 Expand it to pizza and noodles
12. Opt for un-cut/unprepared meals, veggies, and fruits to save instantly
13. Use your own shopping bags/totes if your store charges for nylon bags
14. Have a meal plan and make an effort to stick to it
15. Take advantage of holiday sales
16. Use left-overs as lunch the next day or to prepare soups
17. Use bits and pieces of veggies or meat in hearty soups
18. Share what you have, especially if you think that you will not consume the food. Family, friends, neighbours, soup kitchen, and food banks are good examples
19. Buy frozen veggies
20. Keep a good stock of regularly used items so that you will not feel deprived
21. Know your coupons and their characteristics (e.g. expiry dates, brand/model they are eligible for)
22. Be grateful for what you have and try to appreciate your efforts
23. Shop when you need, not when you think you should shop
24. Check your bill at the cashier and correct or remove items if their price is not right
25. Change your habits; whether it is the food types, stores, or shopping habits, give a better habit a chance
26. Try new recipes and improvise
27. Learn from others: there are many blogs out there that gives good tips to reduce the grocery bill and the food waste.
28. Monitor your savings 🙂 whether you saved by following the sales, using coupons, or loyalty cards, once you realize how much you do save, it will make you feel great and motivated to keep going!
1. Buy things only because they are on sale or you have coupons for
2. Care about peer pressure; rather focus on your own needs and goals
3. Get crazy about saving all the time; everyone deserves a nice treat every once a while
4. Buy suspicious food from dollar stores or from the stores’ sales rack
5. Sacrifice your health and well-being by under-nourishment or by consuming limited types of food
6. Forget to celebrate!
*In my experience using my credit card works for me (I pay the full balance at the end of each month and I do not buy things that I do not need) – so I cannot solely recommend using cash.
**I am not very familiar with price comparisons – if that works for you, go ahead.
***I am not into using food that are beyond their expiry dates