A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I’m not an “extreme couponer.”
But if I don’t use many coupons, how does my family save money on groceries?
Here are a few tips on how my family has learned to shop for real, unprocessed food on a tight budget:
• Shop at Aldi (or another discount grocery store). Aldi is an international discount store, and they carry quality food! They don’t take coupons, but their prices are so low that you don’t even need them!
• Scour the clearance racks. Yes, they exist in food stores, and they are the first places I check out. The food isn’t bad either. It’s just not the freshest of the fresh. I recently bought 14 huge organic bell peppers for $4 total! I cut them up and froze them when I got home. Just make sure you eat or freeze “clearance” foods fast.
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• Make a flexible meal plan. I plan, but I modify the plan based on what I find at the store. For example, I bought a huge container of organic salad the other day marked down to $2. We had enough to have taco salads for dinner and lunches for two days. Sure, I’d love more variety, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Salads two days in a row sure beats Hamburger Helper!
• Buy and freeze “clearance” dairy. I only feed my toddler organic milk, and I frequently find it on clearance a couple days or so before “sell date.” I buy it and freeze it – sometimes freezing smaller portions in different containers. I find it never goes bad before she can drink it all. I also buy and freeze organic yogurt when it’s on sale/clearance. At one point this winter, my husband commented that our freezer looked like the dairy section of a grocery store!
• Plant an organic garden. We had our first organic garden last summer and expanded it this year. A garden saves us lots of produce money during the warmer months, and I froze some of our “harvest” for the winter months.
• Try to use everything you have. For example, I boiled chicken breasts the other day to make enchiladas. I saved the broth to make chicken stock and used it for chicken noodle soup the next day. We had steamed broccoli a few nights ago. I chopped up the leftovers and added it to spaghetti sauce the next night. I don’t want to waste anything!
• Check stores like Big Lots and Ollie’s for dry goods. I’ve been able to find some organic options at these stores at rock-bottom prices!
• Buy bulk dry goods. Health food stores can be pricey, but buying from its bulk section can actually be quite affordable. It’s usually much cheaper than buying pre-proportioned dry goods in a bag or box.
• Drink water – it’s free. We never, ever buy soft drinks and rarely buy juice.
• Cut corners on other household supplies. Switch to cloth diapers, wipes, napkins, paper towels – any and every paper product. Use baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree and other essential oils for cleaning. There’s so many ways to cut corners and still eat relatively healthy food.
What ways does your family save money on your grocery bill?
This is a great list of tips. Thanks for posting! I would like to make one recommendation: You say you buy organic milk. If you mean by organic milk, the name brands in the grocery store, they are usually pasteurized and most times, ULTRA pasteurized. This is dead food and can be just as harmful in a different way than the regular milk laced with hormones and antibiotics. It is dead food. I would suggest you check out http://westonaprice.org/healthtopics and http://www.realmilk.com/ for information about raw milk. If you are interested, you can look for a local supplier or a co-op. My email is [email protected] and my name is Cindy. I am not an expert on this by any means, but I will help you all I can, if you are interested.
Thanks for sharing! These are some great tips. 🙂
The Humbled Homemaker
Hi Cindy! Thanks so much for the suggestion! I have heard that raw milk is the best option, but, unfortunately, it is against the law here in NC. :/ I do want to research it some more, though! At this point, my toddler is the only one in the house that drinks cow’s milk. My husband doesn’t like milk at all, and I drink almond milk. I prefer to switch my toddler to almond milk once her doctor clears her of any nut allergies. My husband is allergic to tree nuts, and we are hopeful our girls didn’t inherit the allergy! Great suggestion, and I really appreciate it!! 🙂
Check the law carefully in NC. Here in IN it is illegal to buy/sell raw milk. However, it IS legal to own what’s known as a herd share. A local dairy farmer sells ownership in his herd, and because we own part of the herd, we are entitled to receive the production of that portion of the herd in whatever way we deem fit (for us, raw and tasty!). We pay for the share of the herd, plus a monthly delivery fee and a monthly boarding fee (we do not pay for the milk itself, only its delivery and care for our share of the cows). For us, it is still faaaar cheaper than the ultra pasteurized organic milk in the stores. And so much more healthy! When we can afford additional shares, it will cut costs on the organic, plain yogurt we’re buying now because I’ll be able to make my own. Check out the real milk site for possible herd shares near you.