A recent blog in my local online paper Pressconnects.com asked if you thought you could eat for a dollar a day. While I am pretty sure that is not realistic, even in my area where I think the cost of living is relatively low, I do know that there are certain things that can help you come away from the grocery store without breaking the bank.
First and foremost, keep a well-stocked pantry. Having items on hand not only makes designing a menu easier, it also makes it less expensive when you go to the grocery store. If you keep canned tomatoes on hand in a pantry, you won’t need to buy a can every time you want to make chili. Another plus to a well-stocked pantry is you are prepared if you have severe weather. I watch in awe as people routinely prepare for hurricanes in the south during hurricane season. Yet, I do the same general thing in the winter, preparing for ice storms, lack of power and surviving without power. On top of being prepared, you can purchase items you know your family uses when they are on sale so that you have them on hand.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a pantry, please check back to my blog post about such an attitude. I also have a previous post on budget shopping. Just this morning, I received an emailed newsletter that included additional links that will help with both a pantry and budget cooking.
Another tip for getting out of that grocery store with a little extra money is to clip coupons. Just a caveat here – clip only what you will use. What good does it do you to have a coupon for dishwasher detergent if you do not own a dishwasher? If you are not one to buy frozen french fries, leave that coupon for the recycling bin. Having a temptation to buy food you won’t use is not money-saving. Clip just the shampoos you use. Clip just the foods you would normally buy.
And one final tip – shop around. If you normally go to one store, do not be afraid to go to a new one if the price is right. Most grocery stores will have their weekly circulars online. Look at what you want to eat – your menu plan – and see if it is worth the trip to the other store to get what you need. You will need to factor in a bit more time as you may not be as familiar with the store but it may, in the end, be well worth your trip.