There are some savvy coupon pros that can spend very little to put food on the table. While couponing might still be a hot trend, those of us that are pressed for time or may not find coupons on products we like have to find other ways to cut grocery costs.
Here are some tips for how to save on your food bill without using coupons
1. Buy snacks in the produce section
To make your purchases work double duty for you, consider buying vegetables as snacks. Vegetables like celery can be eaten as a snack and paired well with peanut butter, hummus, cream cheese, cottage cheese or salad dressings that can be served as dips. Celery can also be used in so many different dishes like soups, salads, and even tuna fish sandwiches.
When shopping in the produce aisle, think party platter. Most of the commonly used vegetables that you find on one can easily be used in other dishes. Go from finger food to full salad with little prep or planning. Veggies like celery, broccoli, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, cherry and grape tomatoes can easily be thrown in other dishes when snack time is over.
2. Look for low prices in the meat section
Certain cuts of meat are almost always cheaper, such as top sirloin, flank steak or drumsticks. If you have enough staples at home, you could even figure out what to do with the cut once you get it home. For example, drumsticks can be thrown in the slow cooker with BBQ sauce. (You can even make your own BBQ sauce using staples like brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. See below for a discussion on staples.)
Buying a whole chicken instead of just the parts is another way to save. The cost per pound of the whole bird is usually a few dollars cheaper than other parts like chicken breasts. Also, when meandering in the meat section, be on the lookout for weekly specials. Finding a marked down pot roast that can be tossed into the slow cooker, for example, can provide your family with a juicy meal such as carne asada or beef stew. The Favado app can help you uncover these types of deals especially if you like to deal hunt in the moment. Type in the grocery store in your area and find specials on the go.
3. Buy staples to set your budget free
Find recipes later that require commonly used staples. If you happen to purchase pork chops, they can be cooked using something as simple as bread crumbs with salt and pepper. If you like eating ground meat, keep pastas and jarred sauces handy for quick dinners. Beans and tomato sauces can also be used to make chili. Some of the seasonings for chili can also be used to make tacos. Whether you assemble your own spices or buy a ready-made mix, keep some taco shells on hand so you can put together a taco dinner for a simple, tasty dish.
When grocery shopping at the store, you don’t have to bring a stack of freshly clipped coupons to save money. Using produce as snacks, scouting out inexpensive meats and investing in some versatile staples can also help keep costs down while filling up your grocery cart. Use these tips to keep costs down on your next trip to the supermarket.
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About the author: Karen Cordaway is a former shopaholic who spent years wasting money until she learned how to stop by reading personal finance books and teaching herself how to budget and save. Karen’s writing is found on U.S. News Money and MoneySavingEnthusiast.com. Her work has also been featured on Yahoo Finance, The Consumerist, Huffington Post, Fox News, Daily Finance and many others.