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Jul 22, 2008

Save Money on Food

           This page will give tips on saving money on food in a highly simple manner. These tips shouldn't give much hardship on people and it should help you save money. If the tips do not work, go down to the WARNING.

Share food. Usually at restaurants, food advertised for two people is sufficient for three. Don't pay for more than you need!
Clip coupons and then shop at stores which give double-coupon promotions (such as Kroger or Publix). These stores will double a coupon value up to 50 cents of its price. Some stores triple coupons!
Join a coupon swapping organization. This allows you to swap grocery store coupons with users in the same geographic area.
Learn how to make great-tasting dishes at lower cost staple food. Instead of roast beef sandwiches, eat peanut butter and jelly. Instead of steak, dine on macaroni and cheese.

o Create a grocery list and stick to it - Take a list to the grocery store, and stick to it. Try to buy products that cost the least per ounce.             

Most grocery stores post the "price per ounce" of products under the cost of the product.
o Buy in Bulk - When buying food and other supermarket items, it is usually cheaper to buy in bulk, so whenever possible, buy large amounts of durable goods that you will need for sure in the future (24 pack of toilet paper, "family size" cereal, etc.). Wholesale retailers usually sell in bulk and at much cheaper prices than their competitors, so consider applying for a wholesale club membership, like BJ"s, Costco, Sam's Club, etc., Don't forget to account for the cost of membership and transportation -- these costs may outweigh the savings. If Smart & Final is in your area, try it: it's a smaller, no-membership janitorial & restaurant supply store.
Don't buy things only because they are cheap; buy things if they are cheap and you are going to use them.
Remember that while processed foods may seem cheaper and easier, they are actually a lot more expensive and a lot less healthy. Focus on buying cheap, healthy foods like beans, lentils, pasta, etc that are easy to make, healthy and cheap.
Learn to cook from scratch. Cooking from scratch is the cheapest (and best) way to eat. Learn to roll yesterday's leftovers into today's meal. Manage your refrigerator: never let anything go bad. Eat it or use it as an ingredient in a sauce, casserole, or soup. For example, old lettuce can be chopped and put into a soup, old salsa can be added to a curry, and old milk can be turned into a quiche. Of course, don't use anything that has actually gone sour or rancid.
Shop for grocery store baked goods early in the day, when the bakeries mark down their day-old items.
Shop for grocery store meat later in the day, when the meat department marks down the items about to go past the "sell by" date. This meat is perfectly safe and can be frozen for later use.
Consider buying private-label or "store" brands. In many cases, these rival the quality of the well known brands at significantly lower cost.
Check out "deep-discount" grocery stores who purchase overstocks and test market items from manufacturers. These stores offer a rotating stock, so items change daily, and you may have to adjust your shopping list. But you can save up to 40% on brand-name items by being flexible with your menus. The west coast's deep discounter is Grocery Outlet
Meat and other animal products can be very expensive. So remember that there are plenty of other options when it comes to protein. Meatless Monday is a public health campaign associated with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health that encourages people to give up meat one day a week to cut their intake of saturated fat. Check out the site for meatless recipes!

Learn how to cook. If you enjoy cooking, you will be less likely to eat out, and you can enjoy healthier meals for less cost. EX:you spend $300/month on groceries. Thats only $10/day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Try growing your own vegetables and fruit. Even if it's only tomatoes on a sunny windowsill in your apartment. Dry out the seeds of whatever you usually eat, on a paper towel is fine. For planting and growing tips, look at a seed packet (of the same type of plant) in the shop and memorise the instructions.
If you don't know how to cook go to the library and borrow cookbooks and magazines with simple recipes you can practise. It won't take much to make pasta, rice or beans taste nice.

If the above tips don't work for you, the last resort is to set a fixed budget on food per month. You will spend no more than that budget except if it is necessary.