Thursday, June 21, 2007

Save Money on Groceries Without Using Coupons

There are ways to save money on groceries without using coupons so I thought I'd share a couple tips here. These are things that I've learned since I started couponing.

1. Cheap Meat
Check the meat department for marked down meat. Usually the manager will mark down the meat a day or two before the expiration date. I will use it the night I buy it or stick it in the freezer and it's just fine. Of course, if the meat smells or looks funny I wouldn't purchase it.

Today I picked up almost 4 lbs of organic ground beef and 2 1/2 pounds of organic chicken for $22.57. That's not an amazing deal (if you aren't picky about the meat being organic, you can find marked down regular meat even cheaper), but if you buy organic meat you know it's pretty darn good. Organic meat is hard to find on sale or at super low prices. So when I find it marked down I stock up. When I got home I took my receipt and filled out a rebate form to get $7.00 back on my meat purchase. So for $15.57 I got 6 packages of organic meat.

2. .99 milk
Check the dairy cases to see if the store manager has marked down any milk. I ran across 4 gallons of organic milk (usually $6 a gallon) that didn't expire for another week. How much did I pay? .99 each!

If you run across some marked down milk, but don't think you'll use it all before it expires, freeze it! Take it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge 24 hours before you want to use it so it can thaw.

3. Make a Meal Plan
Making a meal plan can be a big money saver for your grocery budget. Plan out your meals for the next week, two or even month, make a list of what you need and hit the store! This will help prevent you from buying duplicates of things you already have, forgetting things you need, and buying food that ends up going to waste.

I plan out meals for our family for 1 week. I check my pantry and fridge and make my list according to what we need. I also use the sales circulars when planning my meals and list. If talapia is on sale I might plan to have Parmesan Tilapia one night. We like talapia, but I like to buy it when it's on sale.

To make meal planning easier I have a binder full of our favorite recipes. These are recipes I've collected over the years from online, magazines or friends. I only have to flip through the binder to get ideas when meal planning. I always plan at least 2 nights a week as "lazy nights". We might have leftovers, homemade or frozen pizza, breakfast dinner (pancakes, waffles or scrambled eggs and toast), or the occasional take out. Most families are pretty busy and it's good to have at least a couple nights where dinner is super simple.

4. Join Upromise-
Upromise is a free service, and by adding your credit, debit or grocery card means that you can begin saving money for college every time you shop at participating retailers. That means every time you shop for groceries, you earn back a percentage of what you spend. You can transfer the money earned to a 529 account, set up automatic transfers to a 529 or request that a check be mailed to you.

It's free to join. Make sure you add your grocery cards to your account so you can start saving right away.

As I think of more money saving ideas (without using coupons) I'll post them!

1 comment:

SAHMmy Says said...

You have good info here--I rarely have coupons for food items we use (we buy very little processed food.)