How to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money on Groceries

How to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money on GroceriesThere are plenty of ways to save money on food. Some families choose to coupon and buy in bulk, while other families stick to a basic grocery list and avoid purchasing anything not on that list. While these tricks work, it is also possible to save money by purchasing just enough for the family and avoiding any waste. Here are some tips on reducing food waste that will help you save money:

1) Go to the grocery store once a week.

Save time (and gas) by only going grocery shopping once a week or even once every two weeks. If your meal planning skills aren’t quite honed, do your shopping one or two days ahead of time. As you master the art of meal planning, you can buy enough groceries for longer periods of time.

2) Regularly inspect the contents of your kitchen.

Check the contents of your fridge, freezer and pantry every few days to ensure that you use anything nearing the end of its safe storage or expiration period. It may help to make a running list of the items in your shelves and freezer and their “best before” dates.

3) Swap your goods around.

Regularly rotate the boxed and canned goods on your shelves so that the items in the back don’t remain unopened. Food items at the back of the shelves are often the ones that get too old to be eaten, because you’ve forgotten that they are even there.

4) Be realistic about your meal plan.

As you plan your meals for the week, be realistic about how much time you will actually have to cook and prepare your dishes. Don’t buy lots of fresh produce if you know you won’t be able to use it right away. Opt to purchase produce that have longer storage lives, or buy frozen foods that don’t easily spoil. You may also want to designate which days you’ll be able to spend more time cooking, and which days you’ll be bringing out the slow cooker.

Follow the abovementioned steps and you’ll be able to reduce a lot more food waste and saveg much more on your groceries. Just a few simple practices can truly make a big difference!

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

7 Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

There are many ways to stretch your budget a little further. One way to do this is by making small changes in the way you shop for groceries.

Yes, comparison shopping and clipping coupons are effective methods of saving money—but here are some other things you can do to make your trip to the grocery a success:

1. Write down a grocery list and stick to it.

Create a grocery list containing everything you need for the week and bring this list with you to the store. Do your absolute best to buy only the things written down on your list so you won’t be tempted to spend on unnecessary items.

2. Eat before shopping.

Yes, I know how silly it sounds – but grocery shopping on a full stomach can help save you a lot of money. You are more likely to make impulse purchases when you’re hungry.

3. Shop alone.

If possible, find a day and time when you can do your grocery shopping without your children. Without your kids, there will be no rushing and hurrying to get out of the store. You’ll be able to concentrate on finding great deals instead of dealing with your children’s misbehavior and sudden cravings.

4. Look around.

Grocery stores often put more expensive items at eye level so they are easier for you to see and want. Be sure to look around and compare your options. You might find better deals on the lowest and highest shelves.

5. Stockpile with caution.

When an item is on sale, you tend to purchase more than you actually need. There’s no problem with stockpiling on items like toilet tissue and shampoo, which are items you use on a daily basis. However, be extra careful when purchasing perishable items. Food items sold at bargain prices often mean that their expiration dates are nearing. Always check an item’s expiration date before buying.

6. Avoid the temptation of the checkout stand.

As you’re lining up at the cash register, be wary of purchasing anything from the checkout stand. The checkout stand is full of enticing little items like candy, batteries, magazines, and other items that you might want to purchase at the very last minute. It might take some willpower, but you’ll likely be glad you didn’t buy that chocolate bar later.

7. Keep an eye on the scanner.

Everyone makes mistakes. It is very possible that you could be charged full price for an item that is actually on sale, or an item may accidentally be scanned twice. Keep an eye on the scanner to make sure that you are being charged correctly. If you see a pricing error, immediately bring it to your cashier’s attention.

A little effort can go a long way. The next time you head to the grocery store, follow these simple tips and watch your savings add up!

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

My 10/19 Publix Trip – $126.58 for $28.86 or 77% Off

We live so far out in the woods that our nearest neighbor is six miles away so I actually have to drive my kids across the state line to grandma’s house to go trick or treating – these bags of candy are for her as sort of a payment to her (and her neighbors) for letting us come do that.  I wish I’d had more Skippy coupons because I’m trying to stock up on peanut butter as much as possible since the price is set to go up by at least 30% next month due to the problems with the peanut crop this year.  The awesome deals on the potatoes and cheese were very exciting today and I can’t wait to have some parmesan herbed potatoes for supper tonight!  Today I bought $126.58 worth of groceries for $28.86, or 77% off after coupons, $5/$55 Winn Dixie catalina and $8 Register Rewards.  Here are the deals:

DiGiorno Cheese, 5 or 6 oz cup, BOGO $4.79
$2/1 Digiorno Product (exp 1/31/2012) (I used 4 of these)
Final Price:  40¢ each

Nestle 116 Pieces Fun Size Bags, 48 to 56 oz, BOGO $9.99
-$1/2 Nestle Fun Size Halloween Candy 10/16/2011 RP Insert (exp 10/31/2011)
$1/2 Nestle Halloween Candy (exp 10/31/2011)
$1.40/1 Nestle or Wonka Halloween Candy (exp 11/2/2011)
-$1/2 Nestle Fun Size Bags All You, Oct 2011 (exp 10/31/2011) (I used this one)
Final Price:  $4.50 each bag

Nature’s Own Whitewheat Bread 24 oz, BOGO $2.99
-$.75/1 Nature’s Own Product Coupons.com printable (no longer available; check your binders!)
Final Price:  75¢

Potato Inspirations Honey Gold Potatoes, 28 oz, BOGO $3.99
-$0.55/1 Potato Inspirations Potatoes printable coupon (I used 4 of these)
Final Price:  $1.45 each bag

Breyer’s Ice Cream or Blasts! Frozen Dairy Dessert, 48 oz, BOGO $5.99
$1/2 Breyers Products Facebook Rolling (I used 2 of these)
$0.75/1 Breyers Ice Cream TARGET coupon Target.com (exp 11/8/2011) (and 3 of these)
Final Price:  $1.93 each

Pedigree Dentastix or Jumbone Snacks, 5.57 to 7.05 oz, BOGO $3.59
-$1/2 Pedigree Dog Food 9/18/2011 RP Insert (exp 10/30/2011)
Final Price:  $1.80 each (I had no qs)

Skippy Peanut Butter 15 to 16.3 oz, $1.99
$0.60/2 Skippy Peanut Butter Products Rolling
-$1/1 Skippy Product Publix Better Eating Better Living Printable Coupon (I used 2 of these)
Final Price:  $1.00 each

Wise Cheez Doodles, 8 to 8.5 oz, BOGO $3.29

Diet Cokes 12 Pk  3/$13
– Free 12 Pack of 12 oz Coke Products up to $4.99 (MyCokeRewards)
Final Price:  Free

Cover Girl NatureLuxe Cosmetics, $1 off (Lip Gloss reg. $6.99)
-$1/1 CoverGirl Products 10/16/2011 P&G Insert (exp 11/30/2011)
-$1/1 CoverGirl Product 10/2/2011 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/2011)
-$8/2 CoverGirl Face Products 10/2/2011 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/2011) (I used this one)
-$2/2 CoverGirl or Olay Products 9/25/2011 RP Insert (exp 11/26/2011)
-$1/1 CoverGirl Queen Product 9/11/2011 SS Insert (exp 10/31/2011)
-$1/1 CoverGirl product from free Target makeup bag w/samples (and this one)
Final Price:  $1.49 each (forgot to put the 2 lip glosses in the picture)

New to couponing? Check out our Couponing 101 page and learn how to save a little or A LOT! Also visit our Strategic Shopping page to learn how a few small, painless changes in the way you shop can result in HUGE savings!  Find any coupon in our new coupon database, order coupons you need, and you can download the FREE coupon toolbar here.

 

5 Tips For Eating Well In Tough Economic Times

There’s no question that many people are having difficulty keeping up with household and food expenses in these tough economic times.  This is especially true for those who have lost a job or are now working in lower paying jobs out of necessity.  I often hear people complain that they would like to eat healthier, but it’s just too expensive to buy the right foods.  While it is true that many inexpensive sale items you see at the grocery store are the foods with poor nutritional value, there are still a number of things you can do to eat well without spending a lot of money.  Here are 5 tips to help you do exactly that:

1. Use whole grain foods instead of prepared and packaged items such as flavored rice and pasta mixes. Whole grain pasta, brown rice and whole grain bread or tortillas provide far more fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to the processed items.  You can purchase most of these items under the store brand, rather than a branded label.  Factor in how many servings you get for the purchase price of the whole grain, and you will find that your net cost is lower.

2. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and buy local whenever you can. Produce can be costly if purchased when they are not in season or have been imported from far away.  The trick is to learn what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area and buy them at the right time.  For example, in the northeast, fresh berries in January very expensive because they are not in season.

3. Stock up on frozen vegetables and fruit. Purchase the plain frozen vegetables and fruits (without sauces or seasonings).  Flash frozen produce has comparable or possibly better nutritional value to the fresh counterparts.  Frozen fruits and vegetables often cost less than fresh and are quite convenient.  While most convenience foods are expensive or low on nutrition, frozen fruits and vegetables are definitely a winner.

4. Stock up on beans and lentils (legumes). Legumes are extremely versatile and can be used in soups, stews, salads or side dishes.  The cost is low, while the nutritional benefits are high.  Legumes provide a great source of fiber, protein and minerals.  Trying adding black beans and some spices to your next batch of ground meat or turkey so you can use less meat.

5. Avoid the coupon trap. Coupons can be of help when you are on a budget, and you should check them out.  However, many coupons are for higher priced food items which are highly processed.  Be selective in your use of coupons.  If the item has little nutritional value, then it’s really not a wise purchase, even with the coupon!

Follow these tips for making healthier choices at the grocery store.  With a little planning, and bit of time devoted to your food choices, you will not only come out ahead nutritionally, but you will also get the biggest bang for your buck!

Photo Credit:  iClipart

About the author:  © 2011 Gretchen Scalpi. All rights reserved. “Pre-Diabetes: Your Complete Plan For Preventing The Onset Of Diabetes” and the “The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.” Gretchen is a wellness coach and also offers The Balance Program® online in partnership with Real Living Nutrition Services®. Visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com/the-balance-program to learn more and while you’re there register for her monthly newsletter.

 

Saturday Savings Coupon News Digest

Saturday Savings Coupon News Digest

Saturday Savings Coupon News DigestGrocery Coupon Network Announces Partnership With SheKnows Food & Cooking Channel – Newsblaze.com
LOS ANGELES – (BUSINESS WIRE) – As digital coupon and “daily deal” platforms continue to rise in popularity, leading online coupon community Grocery Coupon Network has announced an advertising partnership with SheKnows, a leading online destination for

Coupon Mom: Half off diapers and more – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)
Huggies: Get Huggies Little Movers Slip On Jumbo Pack diapers at Walgreens, on sale for $9.49. Use the $3 coupon from the Aug. 14 SmartSource circular to pay $6.49 and receive a $2 Register Rewards coupon for your next order. Your net cost for the diapers

Has coupon controversy put OnLive in a positive light with skeptical gamers? – CNET News
Before this week, if you mentioned OnLive’s cloud gaming service to dedicated gamers and you’d hear lots of skepticism. Whether it’s doubts about OnLive’s responsiveness or reservations about the absence of a local copy of games you’ve paid for, OnLive has

Best Buy Tells Me It Will Honor Coupon For Printer, But Only If It Can Charge Price That Negates Use Of The Coupon – Consumerist.com
Consumerist reader Jon saw that Best Buy was offering what appeared to be a pretty decent deal: Bring in any old printer for recycling and get a coupon for $50 off a Kodak ESP printer. And when he got to the store and saw the printer price had been dropped

Coupon Queen: Coupon the old-fashioned way – Post-Bulletin
If you’re a regular reader, you know how often I reference the online tools that make a coupon shopper’s job of matching coupons to sales a snap. With sites to print coupons, load electronic coupons to a store’s loyalty card or match coupons to

Local coupon websites add grocery deals – Crain’s Chicago Business
(Crain’s) — Two up-and-coming Chicago-area coupon websites are now sharing a basket in the grocery aisle. Evanston-based Coupon Mob LLC is collaborating with Chicago-based Coupon Network to add grocery coupons to its broad selection of daily deals

Bagging Bargains: 3 coupon booklets this week, plus issue of $aving Sense – Patriot-News Blogs
In this week’s editions you’ll find three coupon booklets — a SmartSource, a red plum and a P&G brand SAVER — as well as the September issue of $aving Sense, The Patriot-News local coupon section. Not all manufacturers’ coupons are available in all

Georgia Woman Allegedly Denied Discounts at Store for Being ‘Habitual Coupon User’ – FOX News
A Georgia woman says she’s miffed at the manager of her local Kroger grocery store who allegedly called her a “habitual coupon user” and refused to take her clippings, MyFoxAtlanta.com reports.  Khadijah Herring said she clips coupons with her children at

OpenTable Rewards Loyalty, Refunds Loyalty Points After Coupon Expires – Consumerist.com
As a frequent user of online reservation service OpenTable, Ben’s girlfriend had earned a fair number of loyalty points. She turned these in for a $50 voucher, which she promptly forgot to use. Oh, well, her loss, right? Not exactly. Hey guys, love the

GameStop pulls copies of PC game Deus Ex over coupon controversy – Dallas Morning News
GameStop Corp. has pulled all copies of the computer game Deus Ex: Human Revolution from its store shelves. The move comes after a controversy erupted when Grapevine-based GameStop told store workers Tuesday to open all copies of the new PC game and remove

Sam’s Offering Free eValues Coupon Program to All Members Aug. 31 – Sept. 5 – Everything Alabama Blog
Celebrate eValues with us! Between August 31 and September 5, we’re offering $600 in extra eValues savings to all Members. All you have to do is head to your Club. Stay tuned for more information. Here’s a description of the program: Your eValues benefit

How to shop at Walgreens – Tri-City Herald
Here’s how it all works: — When purchasing a single item, Walgreens accepts one manufacturer coupon and applicable Walgreens in-ad coupon for the purchase of a single item, unless prohibited by either coupon offer. So, if you have a manufacturer coupon

$5 Off Coupon for Disney’s Prom – Blu-ray.com
Disney is currently offering a $5 off coupon for the upcoming Blu-ray release of their 2011 teen comedy Prom. The film, which stars Aimee Teegarden and Thomas McDonellis, centers on a group of teenage students who are anxiously preparing for their high

 

My Favorite Saving Strategies for Groceries

The question I get most often is “how do you save on meat, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables?”  I was asked again this morning so I thought it was a perfect time to put together a post with some of my favorite strategies for saving on the grocery budget.

You can easily save 30-40% on your grocery budget right off the bat simply by paying attention to the weekly grocery store ad, shopping the sales and stocking up on the things you use most often when they’re at they’re lowest price.  Taking the time to match coupons with the store sales can get you another 30-40% off your grocery bill, so you can knock 60-80% off with a few simple techniques.

Of course the items that are most expensive or that we use most often – meat, eggs, milk, and fresh produce – are the hardest to get for a discount, however there are strategies you can use to get the best deals!

Meat

I keep a (mental) list of stockup prices for meat and then watch for specials and markdowns that meet my criteria.  A couple weeks ago I stocked up on chicken leg quarters for $0.69/lb (Publix) and whole chickens for $0.88/lb (Sam’s Club) and my stock up price for lean hamburger is less than $3/lb, but an easy rule of thumb is to look for deals on meat at about 75% of their regular price and then stock up.  We typically buy the majority of our meat (with the exception of lunchmeat) at one time during the month when we’re planning a freezer cooking day, so the menu is usually based on Winn Dixie’s BOGO meat sales for the week or the best deals on family size packages at Sam’s Club.

Milk

I recently did a post that listed five tips for saving on milk that you can check out for more strategies, but my favorite thing to do is simply keep an eye out for the best deal, buy extra and freeze it.  For example, a couple weeks ago CVS had a special on milk for $3.19/gallon with a limit of 2 so I bought 2, hubby bought 2 and we put half in the freezer.  Gas is too expensive to make any special trips (or extra trips) so I just check around at the 3 or 4 places I usually shop.  If there aren’t any sales to be found I can pop into Sam’s club for cheap milk if I’m in the area.

Produce

Although they are rare, you can find coupons for fresh fruit and vegetables.  This morning I found a $1 off fresh fruit coupon on a box of cereal and the cereal was on my list anyway so I was thrilled to also get the cheap bananas.  Some large distributors like Driscoll’s have email newsletters and will send out coupons, but for the most part the produce coupons are sponsored by other companies like with the cereal deal.  Last week I used Publix coupons to get free tangerines and cheap green beans when I bought Oscar Mayer meats. 

We’ve tried having a large garden and growing lots of the things we like to eat, but it has been too time consuming and expensive for what it turned out to be worth for us so this year we plan to continue purchasing most of our fresh fruit and vegetables at local farmer’s markets and when they’re in season and on sale in the grocery store.  We also plan to do some container gardening of tomatoes and strawberries this year and enlist the kids’ help in watering and caring for them.

Bonus Tips!

In addition to the 60-80% we’ve knocked off our grocery budget through shopping the sales, matching coupons and stockpiling the basics we have also managed to take another 10-15% off through the use of menu planning and freezer cooking.  By “shopping” our own stockpile and basing the weekly menu on what we have on hand and what is on sale we have greatly reduced our waste because we know what we have and we use it.  Freezer cooking has also helped in those areas, and has the added benefit of taking a lot of the stress out of the daily dinner grind so we no longer dread the “what’s for dinner” question!

 

Get $10 Off Your First Grocery Order From Peapod

Take $10 off your first order at Peapod.com with code CJN10!  This is a great deal to take advantage of if you’re lucky enough to be in one of their delivery areas listed above 🙂