11 Thrifty Tips for Cutting Mealtime Costs

Many people and especially families are looking for ways to make their grocery budgets stretch further. The eleven mealtime savings tips below were offered by a mom and Shopping-Bargains.com employee:

1. Before buying groceries, prepare yourself.

Plan out meals and snacks so that there will not be wasted groceries or unnecessary purchases.

2. Compare prices as you shop or watch store ads in the newspaper.

Buy items you use most while they are on sale. Coupons can also be found in newspapers and this would reduce your grocery bill significantly in a year’s time if used on products you generally purchase.

3. Consider buying store brand products rather than brand name options.

If the quality is comparable, why should we pay more for the name?

4. Buy meat in bulk while on sale.

Divide up the bulk package for the freezer by individually wrapping portion sizes that are appropriate for the number of people in your home.

5. Dry beans are much cheaper than canned.

Also, dry beans can generally be prepared in advance and frozen until needed.

6. Frozen veggies are often reasonably priced and offer an alternative to expensive fresh produce.

Frozen is an especially good buy for fruits and veggies that aren’t in season. Likewise, the local farmer’s markets sometimes offer cheaper, fresher produce.

7. Buy the largest milk container your family can use.

This helps reduce the overall cost of milk over time.

8. If you need grated cheese for a recipe, it is usually more cost efficient to buy the blocked cheese and shred it yourself.

Also buy the largest egg container your family can use over time to get the most out of your money.

9. Take advantage of the store’s bread clearance section.

Inspect clearance bread (or any bread you buy) carefully to make sure it is good and freeze the excess for later use. Be sure to use fresh bread quickly to avoid waste.

10. Products with extra seasonings, sauces, or sugars generally cost more.

This would include items like sugared cereals, frozen veggies with sauce, and other common packaged items. Compare the prices and decide whether it would be more cost efficient for you to prepare the products yourself by adding something to plain products.

11. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If a recipe calls for ingredients you have forgotten at the store, look for similar ingredient at home that might suffice and still make a tasty meal.

While following the above 11 tips, though, be sure to note the following potential money-wasters:

  • Bulk is only better if you will actually use the products. Bulk products are generally cheaper; HOWEVER, this is not always the case so you must consistently compare prices to get the best deal.
  • A diet that includes a variety of foods is usually healthier and preferred by most people. If you find that your family eats out for the variety, try new recipes with a variety of foods to make meal times interesting without the cost of eating out.
  • Your time is valuable. If time is a factor in your meal choices, consider meals that you can throw together the night before (such as casseroles, crock pot options, or meals you have prepared in advance and frozen so you can thaw them out later).

These 11 tips can help you save money on your family’s mealtime budget. We know there are many more. Please share your thrifty grocery suggestions in the comments section below.

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