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Readers Respond: How do you save money on groceries?

Responses: 30

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Groceries account for a large portion of most budgets, so finding ways to save money can amount to big savings. What are some of the best grocery shopping tips you use to help you save money?

Don't rule out dollar stores

Stores such as the 99 Cent Store and Dollar Tree can save you lots of money on pasta, ketchup, and similar items. Granted, on some items their quality is not that great, but if you pick and choose you can save mightily.
—Guest Larry Wiener

Be Critical of your habits

One of the best ways to save is to reassess your habits. If you eat meat every day, do you do it because you want or because your used to it. Same with picking up lunch at work, or having that fun flakes for you or your kids, instead of regular corn flakes. A lot of times making things simpler equals healthier and cheaper. Learn how to cook (and fix your own car, and things around the house to save extra cash). Don't pay someone to make things like cookies, sauces, soups or mixes for you. Also look at the way you clean your house. Cleaners are expensive, and usually you do not need a lot of different brand names ones, while some basic store brand one will do. Never buy a brand name unless you know it to be better, it hardly ever is that much better, Sometimes they are worse. If you and your family snack a lot, try to make sure that they eat 3 proper meals a day (saved me a lot of cash), if necessary add a healthy and cheap after school snack. (homemade cookie, piece of fruit etc).
—Guest h.

Making my own yogurt

I make my own Greek yogurt for about $1.00 for 1 quart. I can get 1/2 gallon of milk for $.99 on sale. Heat the milk in the microwave to 180 degrees then take it out to cool. When it is about 120 degrees add 2 2/3 cup dry milk [$1.60] and stir to dissolve. When it is 112 degrees add 1/2 cup yogurt that have active cultures [$.40 or less] and stir well. Put into 2 one quart containers and place into a small cooler.Fill cooler with 120 degree water up to top of containers. Place lid on cooler and let sit for 8 to 12 hours. I do this while I am doing supper dishes and let it sit overnight. In the morning you've got 2 quarts of Greek yogurt for $1.00 each. Serve it with fruit and a little sugar if you wish.
—Guest Patt

Take Inventory and cook

I cut my grocery bill by over half simply by taking inventory of what I already have before making my grocery list. I also plan a weekly menu based on what I have on hand and what's on sale at the store. That way I buy only what I need. I don't buy a lot of prepackaged meals. I cook from scratch. I think that saves money and allows for more creativity. And I don't throw food away. I freeze it and then on Saturdays when we're all busy and scattered anyway, instead of cooking, we have potlucks. That means we just pull out what's been frozen. Everybody gets something different, but it eliminates waste.
—Guest sbrooks

general tips

never shop when hungry! to save time and not get distracted by things I shouldn't buy I break my grocery list into sections: meat, produce, dairy etc that way I get everything in that section without having to do the rounds. buy unprepaired food eg make your own carrot sticks and skin your own drum sticks! I buy marked down meat. freeze whatever you wont eat before the due date. freeze seasonal produce. when ever there is a killer deal on corn on the cob i cook it up cut off the cob and in the freezer it goes, same with blueberries etc. Plan out your meals with similar ingredients/ use up things already in the house. there are recipe websites that let you search by ingredients my fav is all recipies.com http://allrecipes.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx
—Guest Teale

Saving Money at Grocery Store

1) I look at the store circular before I go to the store so I can plan my meals around food that is on sale as much possible. 2) I do not have brand loyalty to most brands and will buy given a choice what is on sale. 3) I use coupons where possible and try to use them when the item is on sale and I need it to get a further discount.
—missmaggie1

Save money in Entertainment

when you go to see film with your family. you cost almost 1000 rupees one time. rather you buy DVD and enjoy on your home. you can save this money
—Guest Bhanudas Pune

By making menus and lists.

I get the paper every week and search for what is on sale. I make a menu based on the listed items. I find recipes to utilize hte entire item to avoid waste such as sour cream. I try to combine coupons with the sale items or buy a larger package of non-perisible items as the larger package is usually a better deal. I always make a list to avoid return trips due to overlooked items. I make the grocery list according to the store floor plan to keep from back-tracking. Larger packages of meat items are also a better deal. I separate them into smaller portions and freeze them. One store gives a cents off coupon for gasoline. Using the list and making a menu ahead of time ensures no waste.
—amyhoxie

Plan Meals

Everyone knows you'll spend less if you take a shopping list, but you shouldn't stock up just to stock up. Plan all 3 meals for a week and go shopping for just the stuff you need that week. You'll avoid spending money on expensive, quick grocery meals or eating out. Also, you'll be more able to plan healthier, balanced meals.
—Guest Samantha

Eat vegan or vegetarian meals

Cut out meats and cheeses to really save money! Bulk beans and rice are great bases for meals - fill out with whatever vegetables are on sale (or frozen vegetables). Consider meatless chilis, split pea and other hearty soups, vegetable stir fry, meatless burritos, pasta with sauteed veggies, etc. You don't need to go vegetarian or vegan, but eating more meatless meals can save you a lot of money.
—Guest Mel

Is it useful and necessary?

Ask yourself those things are useful and necessary when you buy something. Got any substitute item that you already have? Make sure every item you buy is needed first.
—Guest voon pin

Water

This is a little off topic from the groceries, but to save money on drinks when out of your home it is always best to carry a water bottle wherever you go. This way you will not be tempted to buy soda, juice, or bottled water. Not only will you save money but you will not be keen on taking in unhealthy sugary drinks.
—Guest Wahid, www.heaps.co.nz

Don't Waste Food

Stocking up can also cost $$ if you don't use what you buy. I have stopped stocking up so much and make sure that I don't buy anything until I need it and plan to use it. I have a week now and then when I don't shop, but just use what I already have. Use frozen vegetables whenever possible for better nutrition, they are frozen at their peak, and less waste. I've saved a bundle on onions alone.
—Guest Susan E

bi-weekly shopping for fresh produce

To stop throwing out food. Cook eneough for that dat and some left over for packed luuch as mentioned before. Buy all non-perishables in bulk. For perishables buy is smaller quatities bi-weekly or have a vegetable garden..I am still struggling with watering indoor plants!
—Guest Puna

Why Pay for Groceries?

There are many many blogs out there that can cater to your specific grocery store and they will give you coupon matchups and how to do it. I personally spend $20 a week for a family of four and I do not shop in the summer. Ever! We eat great and I give alot to others. It is simple if you learn! Come on by and see what I got free this week and see how I did it! www.tristatesaver.com
—Guest TriStateSaver

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