It never hurts to remind ourselves how to save money on food. With gas prices rising, food prices rise too – so it’s time to get smart about the way we shop. There are 6 Tips that I try to follow. When I let them go, our grocery bill rises accordingly. So here’s my note to self:
1. Plan Ahead: This is the most important way I can save. If I make a list on the weekend on exactly what I plan to prepare and cook for the entire week, I’m rewarded in $$’s. This is why when I wrote The Gorgeously Green Diet, I included weekly meal plans, recipes and shopping lists. This is what we need to do. When writing out my meals for each day in my kitchen, I then make sure I have the recipes to hand and make my list accordingly.
2. Fridge/Freezer Purge: I am so guilty of pushing old things to the back of the freezer to make way for the new, however, this almost always results in 2 of 1 thing, or me pushing stuff to the back that it turned out no one really wanted. I force myself to do a weekly purge and plan the week’s meals accordingly – there’s almost always some carrots and spinach that need to be used before their sell by date – so I may decide to make a stir-fry or soup the next day.
3. Seasonal: I never buy foods that aren’t in season because they will not have their peak nutritional content, won’t taste as good and will be way more expensive.
4. Frozen: Occasionally frozen can be a better and more cost-effective choice, especially if you need a fruit like organic blueberries.
5. Go veggie: Second to planning ahead, this is the primary cost-cutter. I never buy cheap meat (non 0rganic) ever – the health risks are just too great. So, I occasionally buy an organic chicken for a weekend or special meal. Cutting back on the meat takes at least a third off my bill.
6. Bulk Bins: You are so lucky if you have a Wholefoods or health food store near you with bulk bins because you can save so much money – particularly on staples like flour, oats, dried beans, lentils, dried fruits, rice and cereal. The key is to make sure you know exactly how much you are going to use because it can be annoying to have a multitude of those flimsy bags hanging around. Also, nuts get rancid after time and dried fruits (especially raisins) crystallize.
FYI- I’ve just seen that the beautiful hard cover version of The Gorgeously Green Diet is on sale for under 3 bucks on Amazon – that is INSANE! The hard cover is beautiful and they aren’t bringing out any more (I can’t believe it’s way less than the paperback – so grab them for gifts while you can!