The average U.S. household spends about $4,000 a year on food. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut this expense in half? MSN Money recently shared nine solid tips for doing just that – without sacrificing the foods you love most.
1. Become a Slicer and Dicer
Pre-cut fruit, chicken and vegetables are convenient but costly. Skip the pre-sliced, pre-diced foods for whole varieties instead (such as a whole chicken, a whole block of cheese and whole fresh fruits and vegetables), then cut them up yourself at home.
2. Buy Generic
Many generic products are virtually identical to name-brand options – at a savings of 20-50 percent.
3. Shop Outside the Box
Grocery stores are not your only option for food. Also be sure to check out local meat markets, farmer’s markets and stands and even salvage grocery stores (which offer discounted foods and closeout items with dents, tears, etc.).
4. Store Your Food Properly
Proper storage will extend the shelf-life of perishable foods so you don’t end up with food waste. For instance, freeze meats you won’t be using soon, butter cheese to prevent mold growth and use airtight containers to store small quantities of perishable items in the fridge.
5. Be Strategic
For starters, don’t shop when you’re hungry (or you’ll fill your cart with expensive impulse buys). And be on the lookout for good deals on items you buy regularly, then stock up when they’re on sale. If you shop at warehouse clubs, be sure that items you buy in bulk will be used up before going bad.
6. Eat Leftovers for Lunch
Cooking larger quantities at a time gives you leftovers that can be eaten for lunch the next day or repurposed into another meal entirely.
7. Set Boundaries
Shopping with a list and a budget is important to prevent giving in to cravings and junk-food purchases when you’re at the grocery store.
8. Look Low
The items that are most profitable to the grocery store are typically at eye level (the coveted shelf space that manufacturers pay more for). Items on the bottom shelves may offer a better value – if you’re willing to look for them.
9. Plan Ahead
Plan your meals for the week and then make a list so you’re ready to go. This allows you to check your pantry at home so you can use up what you have on hand first and not purchase duplicate items that may end up wasted.