Frugal Friday: 10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

 Submitted by OWB member Christina Kamp

Now is a great time to think about how to save money on groceries.  With the holidays being a time for lots of spending on gifts and special foods, we need ways to save on other things to keep our budgets intact.  Here are a few ideas on how you can lighten the load on your wallet and still have good quality food in your pantry.
  1. Make a list and stick to it!  Being organized is a great time and money saver.  Take an inventory of your pantry and fridge.  See what you need and write it down.  This cuts out all the guessing at the store.  I have a list of the items I need for my monthly daycare menu in my purse.  Each month I take it out and check it against what I already have to create my shopping list for the following month.  It’s the best time saver I’ve ever given myself.  You can make a menu list too by writing down some of your favorite menus to serve each week, 5-10 meals is all you need.  Write down the items you need to make them, and before you shop, you will have a great plan.
  2. Keep your pantry well stocked with staple items.  This saves you tons of time and money running to the store every day to get items you need for dinner.  When you see sugar, flour, meat, or whatever on sale, buy enough for several recipes and store it at home.  You can shop in your own pantry instead of having to go out.  Eliminating trips to the store saves gas money, time, and especially money you would spend on impulse buys at the store.  The store is set up to try to get you to buy more, so the less trips you make there, the less you spend!  I try to get my main staple grocery items only once a month.  It takes a lot of planning, but it’s worth it the other three weeks when I don’t have to shop.  I would rather hang out with my family than wait in line at the store.
  3. Make things from scratch.  I recently asked a friend how much a loaf of wonder bread costs these days as I have not bought a loaf of bread in over 10 years.  She said it’s about $3.00 a loaf.  Oh my word!  I can make a healthy, high quality, delicious loaf of homemade whole wheat bread from freshly ground flour for about seventy five cents!  And it’s fresh and full of nutrition with NO additives that make us sick.  I am allergic to sulphites which are found in most store bought bread, but they are not good for any of us.  Many serious health issues are increased by consuming sulphites.  You can make a dozen homemade cookies for much less than you can buy a package from the store, and the taste is so much better.
  4. Buying produce when it’s in season.  If you want strawberries in the winter time, it’s going to cost you.  Not only that, but those strawberries are shipped from so far away they are not going to be the delicious tasty berries you would get in the spring during berry season.  Find the produce that’s on the front display at your grocery store for a great price.  That’s what is going to be tastiest anyway.  There are great foods to eat in every season.  Learn to cook by the seasons and your wallet will thank you.
  5. Shop when your stomach is full.  You will overbuy most of the time when you are hungry.  I can attest to this!
  6. Buy in bulk.  The price per pound of many staple items is substantially lower when you buy a large quantity.  I have a set of storage buckets that contain different kinds of beans, brown rice, sugar, and oatmeal as well as soft and hard wheat berries I grind into flour.  These are things we eat a lot of here at Little Sprouts.  I order these bulk items in 50 or 25 pounds from Bulkfoods.com, Honeyville grains, and the Oklahoma Food Co-op.  Bulkfoods.com and Honeyville grains have flat rate shipping rate of $4.99 and $5.00 per order, so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get it here.  I love buying from these places because I know their products are high quality, and do not have additives I am trying to avoid feeding my family and daycare kids.  I also buy rice milk, coconut milk, and other products we use by the case to save on the per item price.  Another great bulk savings is family packs of meat.  Buying the big tray of ground beef and separating it into one pound packages at home before you put it in the freezer is a great way to save on meat.  If you have a big freezer, you can even go straight to the farm and get a quarter, half or whole beef butchered just for you the way you like it.  You can save a lot on the per pound price buying in that quantity for sure!  You may not feed 10 people a day, so you may not need 50 pounds of anything, but getting the 5 pound bag of beans at the store and dividing it up, is still less expensive.
  7. Take advantage of pumpkins on clearance after Halloween or turkeys at rock bottom prices right before Thanksgiving.  Store a couple of extra birds in your freezer and cook them in February or March.  Turkey is delicious any time!  Pumpkins no one wanted for a jack o lantern can be roasted, pureed, and frozen to use in recipes year round as well.  Pumpkin pancakes or muffins are wonderful.
  8. Keep an eye on the sale ads.  If you can use the ad to plan your menu for the week, you can save big.  You don’t have to travel from store to store, just take the ad from the store you want to shop at (they have them on their store website if you want to save paper and time going to get one) and look at what is on rock bottom prices on the front page.  Try to come up with recipes for the week that use those items.
  9. Coupons can save you quite a bit of money, especially when you combine them with sales.  For a great resource on how to do that, visit moneysavingqueen.com.  Her website is awesome at teaching readers how to get the best deals.  There are many apps available to keep your list and your coupons organized as well.
  10. Produce gathering is a discounted produce basket you can order through moneysavingqueen.com as well.  You can get $30 worth of produce (a bushel basket full) for $15.  It’s a great way to get a variety of produce for a discounted price and it’s full of nutritious items to feed your family.
Planning is your best friend when trying to live on a budget.  It’s super easy to overspend on food and not end up with good nutritious things for your family to eat.  Once you get in the habit of planning out your food shopping, you will be amazed at how much your food budget goes down, how much valuable time you can save, and how much more delicious and healthy food you can serve.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!  Take a few minutes to make a plan today.

DSCN5549 (2)Christina Kamp is the owner and operator of Little Sprouts Learning garden in Eastern Oklahoma where she teaches her kids to grow their own food, prepare it, and explore healthy eating as well as a multitude of other great activities to prepare them for their futures.  She has been providing childcare in her home for almost 20 years and is blogging about it at littlesproutslearning.co.  She wants to inspire as many providers, parents, and teachers as possible to do great things with their kids.  Christina is married and has one daughter that is 22 years old.  She loves teaching preschool and learning right along side her kids.

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2 comments

  1. Rose Marie B says:

    All great tips Christina. I always shop with a list and do my very best to stick to it. lol I also save money buying store brands. Very few times have I been disappointed and 10-20% savings is always welcome. It’s funny, I hate to shop for clothes but groceries, I love!
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