Our savings tips Friday deal with saving money on food. You can save on food expenses without compromising your family's health.
First of all, plan your meals. Once a week sit down and make out a menu. Look for specials and use coupons when you plan your meals. A good web site to use is www.valuepage.com.
Planning also includes keeping in mind your family's needs. The basic needs to remember are:
- What does my family like?
- How many of us will be eating?
- What do the kids or older people need?
- Is it too hard to make?
- How much money do I have for food?
- Will we be eating away from home so I should buy less food?
- Will friends and relatives come over for meals?
Another important part of food shopping is planning the menu for your family's meals. Here are some tips to follow when planning a menu:
- Your family needs.
- Good Nutritious foods
- Variety of foods, keeping in mind texture, color, flavor, and temperature.
- Consider wise use of leftovers
- Weekly specials and seasonal foods, such as fruits and vegetables
- Plan one meatless day per week. You'll save at the grocery, save time and you'll likely save a few calories.
Using a shopping list saves you time. It helps you control your spending. It also helps you remember all the items you need. Here are some helpful hints for making a shopping list:
- Keep paper and pencil in the kitchen. You can write down things you need when you think of them.
- Check your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator as you make your list.
- Organize a list the same way the grocery store sections are laid out. You will save time and avoid forgetting items when you shop.
- Look at the newspaper and ads for sales and coupons.
Here are some other helpful tips to help get you through the grocery store without going broke:
- Eat before shopping for food. Hungry people tend to buy more food than they planned on.
- Know the current prices of the food you buy most often.
- Read food labels to learn about contents, nutrition, quantity, number of servings, steps to prepare, serving and storage tips, and other useful facts.
- Buy the amount of food the fits your family's needs and your storage space.
- Buy larger sizes of items that want spoil. It may be cheaper.
- Buy the quality and size of food that fits how you will use it.
Know the tactics stores use to try to get you to spend more:
- Stores place the most expensive items at eye level (note that the most expensive kid's cereals are often placed lower - at their eye level.)
- Stores use large, flashy end-of-aisle displays that are seldom cheaper. Companies pay for these positions.
- Candy is in an area that is difficult to avoid (in other words, no matter how hard you try your kids will se it!).
- Shelves change constantly - new products will be displayed where your old favorites used to be, forcing you to look longer, at more items, than you intended.
- Pre-cut fruits and vegetables look beautiful, but are expensive.
- Massive end-of-aisle displays, large window signs, hanging banners all create the illusion that the store is filled with bargains, even if it isn't.
- Prepared meals that you can see and smell as you shop are tempting but costly. Use pre-made foods only when necessary. They can cost twice as much.
- Specialty items like chips, dip, and soda are all placed together to increase impulse sales.
- Lounge areas, free coffee, samples, free newspapers, etc. are all designed to keep you in the store longer- hopefully spending more money.
Compare your costs seven different ways. Compare:
- prices of different brands.
- cost of frozen, canned, fresh, and dried items of the same food.
- number of servings in each food package.
- prices at different stores.
- prices of similar foods, such as fresh peaches and pears.
- larger packages and two smaller ones of the same product to get the better value.
- the cost of convenience food versus the cost of making it from scratch.