Since starting my full-time job this past summer, I’ve had a really tough time keeping on top of some household tasks. The biggest of which was meal planning and food prepping. It’s lead to a large increase in our overall grocery spending as I’ve been buying more prepared foods, not buying items on sale, and making more last minute trips to the store for “one item for dinner” (which inevitably leads to over-spending on additional items). Just not a great situation overall.
So one of the things I’m trying to be more mindful about this year is to do some better planning and try to save more on groceries.
Toward that end, I recently came across this article in Cooking Light titled 18 Foods You Can Scrimp On At The Grocery Store.
I hate when articles force you to click through screen by screen, so let me summarize the main points for you (content from Cooking Light)
Buy these foods generic:
- Whole and Ground Spices
- Block Cheese
- Tomato paste
- Canned beans
- Bagged lettuce
- Table salt
- Neutral cooking oils (e.g., canola, vegetable, safflower)
- Cooking spray
- White vinegar
Save money on:
- Buying whole produce (as opposed to pre-washed/pre-cut)
- Nuts, by buying in bulk
- Brown rice & whole grains, by buying in bulk
- Dried beans and lentils, by buying bulk
- Popcorn, by buying in bulk
- Herbs. Instead of buying lots of individual kinds of herbs, buy blends that can be used more frequently to reduce waste.
Your thoughts? Any items you disagree with? Any other items you’d add that you’ve saved on?
I don’t agree with the idea of buying generic/cheap cooking spray. I used to do that, but noticed that the thing always clogged up or broke before the spray was actually gone. I switched to a name brand and have never had an issue since (update: I actually started using Kirkland brand from Costco so it’s technically a generic/store brand, but it’s awesome! Costco for the win again!)
I’ll also mention that some of these suggestions are tough with busy schedules. I used to buy bulk pinto beans that I’d soak overnight and then cook all day. We’d use them whole (as pinto beans, duh!) or mashed up (as refried beans). Yes, it cost literal pennies compared to canned stuff in the grocery store. But ain’t nobody got time for cooking foods that take all day when you’re not home to make it! Yes, crock pots can work, but not being present just adds an element of difficulty that wasn’t there when I worked from home.
I’d love to hear other ideas of areas where you save on your food budget!