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To Market, To Market September 19, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.

220px-Carrots_of_many_colorsWe all need to eat to live (and many of us live to eat).  Here’s a few tips for saving at the grocery store:

1.  Study Store Circulars.  If something you buy regularly is on sale, take advantage of those savings when planning  meals for the week.  If non-perishable staples (canned fruits, beans,  and veggies, rice, pasta, and pasta sauces) are being sold as B1G1F (Buy One Get One Free), stock up!

Canned goods remain “fresh” for months.

2.  Compare prices.  Don’t automatically assume that the Super Jumbo Economy Size will cost less per ounce, or that the store brand is cheaper.

Name brands on sale often cost less than store brands at the regular price.

3.  Use coupons.   If you get coupon inserts in the Sunday paper, flip through them and clip coupons for products you use regularly.  It’s great fun to hand over a stack of $1 off coupons and watch your food bill shrink.

Saving $5 a week using coupons nets you $250 over the course of a year.

4.  Avoid impulse buys.  Make a list, check it twice, and wear blinders as you walk past the Bakery or Candy Aisle (where tempting treats lay in wait for the weak-willed).

Don’t shop on an empty stomach ~ have a snack before you go shopping.

5.  Shop the Produce Department first.  If you start in the produce department, filling your cart with good-for-you fruits and vegetables, it sets the tone for the rest of the trip.  Instead of filling your cart with “empty calories” with little or no nutritional value, load up on bright colors, tastes, and textures loaded with vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.

Try adding a few extra veggies into casseroles your kids already love.

6.  Plan more Vegetarian Meals.  If you decrease the meat in your diet,  you’ll fatten up your wallet (and flatten your waist).  A few ideas:  meatless spaghetti and lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, vegetarian chili with beans, corn chowder, minestrone or vegetable soup, Asian stir fries and curries, bean burritos, Greek salads, macaroni and cheese.

A vegetarian diet is better for you (and your pocketbook), better for the planet, and better for the animals you would otherwise be consuming.

7.  Make your own Convenience Food.  Instead of over-spending in the frozen food aisle by buying prepared foods, cook large batches of homemade soups, stews, and casseroles.  Freeze the left-overs to serve on nights when you are too busy (or tired) to cook.

Cook once.  Eat twice.  Having casseroles in the freezer is . . . oh, so nice. 

Related post: Top Ten Reasons to Become A Vegetarian (AgriGirl’s Blog) * How To Save On Your Grocery Bill


1. tsuchigari - September 19, 2010

I still have a lot to learn about meal planning and smart shopping. Like you said, I could be saving hundreds of dollars a year if I managed to find a way to make it work with my life! Someday… til then it’s pasta for dinner.

nrhatch - September 20, 2010

We eat lots of pasta, Jo. 8)

Lo Mein with stir fried veggies
Broccoli and noodles in peanut sauce
Spaghetti with tomato sauce
Versatile pasta salad
Minestrone Soup with pasta
Macaroni and Cheese

Vive la pasta!

2. cindy - September 20, 2010

I plan my week’s menus, make a list and my husband does the shopping, sticking strictly to the list. Works for us.

nrhatch - September 20, 2010

We take turns with the shopping, but I’m usually the one who studies the circular and says, “Oh, get 6 of those!”

3. mizzezmellymel - September 20, 2010

I love coupons. My mom is the Coupon Queen and passed “her knack” down to me. We always plan our meals around what’s on sale too. Great advice!

nrhatch - September 20, 2010

In Maryland, our local store doubled coupons up to $1. I generally saved $$10-$20 a week with coupons and another $20-$30 shopping the store specials.

The bill would be slashed from $100 to $50 on most trips ~ on food, toiletries, pain relievers, pet food, etc.

$30 x 52 weeks = $1560 in savings.

None of the stores down here double coupons, but I’ve found quite a few $1 off coupons to use on products that make sense for us.

4. Naomi - September 20, 2010

Long way to go here on the discipline and planning front…will consider this a nudge in the right direction 🙂

nrhatch - September 20, 2010

I’m not organized enough to plan out meals a week in advance. But I love saving money,

NONE of the food we buy goes to waste. We plan meals around what we have on hand, and what needs to be used. We generally have enough food in the fridge, pantry, and freezer to pull together any number of dishes.

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