Family · Food · Just my Thoughts

Budget Shopping

As gas drops in price slightly where I live, it does not seem that there is a corresponding drop in grocery prices.  Our groceries have to get to the store somehow and when it is via truck, the cost of transportation has to be involved in that price. 

I subscribe – a friend who is a nutrionist got me a free subscription once and I love the magazine so continue to get it – Diet & Nutrition.  It is six issues a year for ten dollars so a bit pricey but I love it.  The subscription price is better than the newstand price of $4.95 per issue.

The September/October issue had an article that just made me think – I need to blog about this.  It was entitled “Eat Well on a Budget” which appeals to me as my income is definitely not going up as fast as prices are and appeals to me as a mother of four young adults living in apartments in various locations.  Most of the advise is pretty common sense but, as a person who has an education in marketing, I know we need to hear things in different formats and a number of times before they sink in.

There are 15 money-saving tips in the article.  These tips – and I looked for the article online but it isn’t there – range from the buy generic to one that personalchef will love – buy local and in season.

  1. Buy less expensive fruits like bananas and apples (especially the apples here which you can pick yourself and are local).  Also, buy fruits in season and locally grown.  This is a great idea whether you are trying to stick to a budget or not.  Locally grown fruits and veggies don’t have the “carbon footprint” that the fruit shipped from California or Brazil do.
  2. Buy fruits in bulk if you have the ability and space to freeze them or can them.
  3. Read labels.  Know what you are eating.
  4. Buy generic or store brands.
  5. Plan shopping trips around weekly specials.  The marketing person in me has to warn you to be careful, though.  Grocery stores advertising their loss leaders – items they are willing to take a loss on to get you in the store.  The operative word here is PLAN!
  6. Purchase canned fish such as tuna or salmon.  Just be sure to read the label so you know what it is packed in.  Fish packed in a lot of salt – a high sodium content – can be rinsed.
  7. Rice, pasta, beans and soups are low-cost items that have a lot of nutritional value.  They can also be combined with higher cost items – meat – to make it last longer.  I am a huge soup person.
  8. If you have left over bread (in a house full of teenagers, this never happens to me), use it to make bread crumbs or stuffing.
  9. Avoid buying in bulk unless you are positive you can eat/use it before it spoils.
  10. Don’t let foods in your fridge or pantry (you do have a pantry, right?) go to waste.  Plan meals around what you have so that you know you use foods.
  11. Dilute fruit juices with water to make it last longer and to lower the sugar content.  I did this frequently when my children were toddlers but never thought of doing it now.
  12. Make your own fruit smoothies and milkshakes.  A simple blender is all that is needed – although, I love my “smoothie” maker which is just a glorified blender.  All you need for ingredients are yogurt, fat free milk, fruit – fresh or canned or frozen, and honey.
  13. Keep a lot of condiments to add flavor to your cooking – herbs, spices, marinades (both bottled or homemade which do cost less than store bottled), vinegars (yes, there is more than one type of vinegar and each type has a distinct flavor), tomato sauces and soy sauces.
  14. Prepare foods when you get them home from the store.  I don’t mean go to the store and come home and cook everything but prepare everything.  You are more likely to snack on that fruit you spent all that money on if it is cut up.  It makes making a meal easier if you know you need veggies cut or diced a certain way and you know these are already diced and bagged .
  15. Stick to your list!  If you go back to my little rant on loss leaders, you will understand.  Plan your meals.  Make your grocery list.  Shop.  No deviations!

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