|It is possible to rein in a sky-high grocery tab without feeling the squeeze. By making incremental changes, you can get rid of the hidden expenses on your shopping list and take control of your food budget with our easy steps to savings.|
|Meat is often the most expensive item on a grocery bill. Start making meals using canned beans instead of meat, which can cost twice as much as beans do per serving. |
You don't have to go all vegetarian either to save. Save $10 a week by simply cutting back on meat consumption or eating vegetarian for certain meals.
|Going meatless for dinner is a good place to start. Instead of beef fajitas, use low-fat refried beans in whole-wheat tortillas. In pasta, use canned white beans that have been rinsed and drained. Or try one of these 7 vegetarian meals that cost less than $2 a serving. |
If you're worried that your family won't adapt, use half the meat you would normally and supplement with beans and hearty veggies.
|Produce is a great healthful choice but it can be expensive—especially if the fruits and veggies are forgotten about in the crisper and wasted instead of eaten. Opt for frozen produce and save an additional $5 of week. |
Frozen produce is just as healthful as fresh, but it lasts longer. Twelve ounces of frozen broccoli can be $1.50 cheaper than the same amount of fresh.
|Using frozen produce instead of fresh can actually be a big time saver because much of the prep work is done for you. Try incorporating frozen veggies into pasta dishes (like this Tortellini with Ham and Peas). Or blend up a smoothie using frozen fruit and low-fat yogurt for a quick, inexpensive on-the-go breakfast. |
If you still want fresh produce in your diet, buy on sale seasonal produce or head to your local farmers market where the prices are usually cheaper.
|There are really no hard fast rules about what is cheapest. One week it might be the store brand value pack and the next week a smaller sized name brand might be on sale. Checking to see if something is the best deal ounce for ounce can save you an extra $2-$5 a week. |
Don't forget to print coupons before you head to the store.
|To find the cheapest of something every time, check the price per ounce or serving. Bring a calculator to the store and take the total price divided by the total ounces or servings. So if store-brand cheese is $2 for 8 ounces (25¢ per ounce) and name-brand cheese has 4 eight-ounce packs on sale for $6 (19¢ per ounce), it’s a better deal to go with the name-brand cheese.|
|Love drinking juices, sports drinks and milk? You are paying a premium for all the packaging these beverages come in. Have your family drink more water or switch to low-cost alternatives and you can save another $10 a week. |
To save, start diluting juice with water and buy powdered skim milk—it has the same nutrition as fluid milk but saves about 25¢ per 8-ounce glass.
|Instead of going cold turkey on the beverages you love, make small changes. Concentrated juice has the same great taste as fresh but costs less. Use dry milk in cereal, hot chocolate and for baking but fluid milk for drinking. You can even have sports drinks, if you make them yourself. Mix 1 cup water with 1 Tbsp. orange juice, 1 Tbsp. sugar and a pinch of salt for a tasty "DIY" sports drink.|