Friday, May 22, 2015

7 Tips that Save the MOST Money on Food


I promised you a post on saving money on food.  

So...here are my 7 best tips for saving grocery money,

1. Shop at Aldi.

I feel sorry for those of you who don't live near an Aldi.  Aldi is by and far, my largest grocery saving tip. Unlike other discount stores, they sell pretty much all the basics, plus they have an extensive line of gluten-free and organic foods. And their staples, (milk, eggs, meat and produce) is almost always cheaper than the mainstream grocery stores...even the mainstream grocery stores on sale. 

2. Make My Own Yogurt.




This is a HUGE money saver for me.  We eat A LOT of yogurt and it is actually very easy to make yourself.  You don't need a fancy yogurt maker...all you need is a crockpot, a thermometer and a strainer (if you wish to make Greek yogurt, you can skip the strainer if you don't want Greek yogurt). You can find tutorials on line, but here is what I do.

1) Heat one gallon of milk to 84 degrees (Celsius).
2) Cool the milk to 40 degrees (Celsius).
3) Thoroughly mix the cooled milk with 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt in your crock pot.
4) Put the lid on your crock pot and stick it in the oven with the heat OFF, but the oven light ON.  The heat from the light keeps the yogurt at the perfect temperature.
5) Let the milk culture for 8-24 hours. 
6) Place the yogurt in the fridge and strain if so desired. I usually desire this, because we like thick, creamy yogurt.  

3. Avoid Snack Foods, Deli Meats and Extras.




These are foods which offer very little nutritional value or satiety, and just add "fun."  They are okay as a treat occasionally, but making them a regular part of your diet, will kill your budget and isn't too good for your health either.

I consider these foods to be things like
-chips (although I do make an exception for corn chips used in tacos). 
-crackers
-cookies
-deli meats
-bacon
-pepperoni

Now, here me out on the deli meats, bacon and pepperoni things. Those things all add taste, but they don't add much nutritionally. None of them contain much protein and they are all quite expensive if you buy the healthier versions without all the junk in them (like nitrates, etc.).  And I only buy the healthier versions, because nitrates scare me. 

That one slice of bacon with your eggs or pepperoni on the pizza or few slices of turkey in a sandwich really don't add that much benefit, nutritionally speaking. Although they can be quite tasty.  However, if you are on a tight food budget, spices are a less expensive and healthier way of adding taste. 

So, for the most part I skip them and they really are only an "occasional" food for us.  Because, ultimately I'd rather go for health, than taste....most of the time. 


4. Produce on Sale.

This is sorta  no-brainer, but it makes sense.  Buying seasonal produce on sale, saves a lot. We eat A LOT of produce, but certain things I only buy certain times of the year, when they are on sale.

5. Whole Chickens.




Whole chickens are a great deal!  For about $5-$6, most families can get at least 2 meals out of a whole chicken.  Roast it one day, and use the bones for soup, the next. 


6. Shop your Pantry/Freezer First.

Food that you don't use, is just wasted money.  So, when planning meals, take stock of what you already have and then replace those items as they go on sale. Many people ONLY recommend buying pantry staples on sale...and when they are on sale, stock up for at least 6 weeks worth.  I have heard that grocery stores rotate what is on sale, on a 6-basis, so buying 6 weeks worth of something on sale, should get you through to the next sale.

One of the best ways to save money, is to only buy what you actually eat.  If you are buying tons more than you are consuming, then a lot of that food will end up going to waste. 

Disclaimer:  I'm not a prepper and I'm not into food storage.  I try to keep between a few days to a 2 weeks worth of food in the house at all times, but nothing more than that. Usually by the end of the week, we have a few days worth of food left, but I really need to get to the store.  I mean, we might have a lot of a particular item, if I had recently stocked up on that, but we don't have a lot of EVERYTHING. 

And actually, Aldi tends to have low prices all the time, so you don't need to stock up when on sale...you can just count on getting the low prices whenever you go. 

7. Shop Less Frequently.

This is a biggie.  Quick trips to the store add up quickly.  I shop weekly, and that's it.  Some people are able to shop only twice a month, or even once a month, but I find that I need to go weekly. But, I almost never go more than that.  Unless it's something we absolutely NEED (like toilet paper), we make do until the next time I go to the store.

Do you have any money saving tips to share??  I'd love to read them!

Linking up with Kelly for 7QTF. 
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