Reducing your grocery bill does not always mean using insert coupons or even printable coupons. There are some products that rarely or never have coupons making it near impossible to get these items for super cheap or free. There are several ways you can work deals however to help pay for such items – using Catalinas for example to pay for meat but that is a post for another day.
How to Save on Grocery Bills
Today we are going to talk about ways to save by not even buying certain products. Most of these products are for pure convenience which of course you pay extra for. Some of them you may be able to score a great deal on from time to time but if you can’t, avoid buying these items. Being on a tight budget and wasting money on convenience foods just doesn’t make sense. Use that money to spend on things that are more important, like meats and veggies.
Here is my list of what you should not buy at the grocery store:
1. Fresh Herbs
Fresh Herbs are just so easy to grow. Even if you don’t have a yard to plant an herb garden, a small corner of your kitchen is all you need to plant herbs that are used often by your family. Be sure to take a look at how you can grow your herbs indoors.
2.Produce Out of Season
If you are on a tight budget, the last thing you want to waste your money on is high priced fruits and vegetables. Buying produce in season is a huge money saver. For instance, corn, eggplant and peppers are just a few of the produce items that are in season in August. Buying extra and freeze them so you can use them during the off season. Or, if you don’t have room in your freezer to store extra produce items, then simply prepare your meals based on the produce in season. If you are not familiar with the sales cycles for produce be sure to check our this handy guide to Grocery Sales Cycles
3. Canned Beans
Yes I know sometimes we can get these at a great price however when that is not possible, opt for the dry beans. They are so much cheaper and easy to prepare even dry. Make sure to check out How to Cook with Dry Beans if you are unsure how to prepare them.
4. Bottled Salad Dressing
I usually pass on these items even when I can get them for free as it’s so easy to make delicious salad dressings. We have our go to Italian Salad Dressing that we make often but I’m always experimenting with new salad dressings. Quite honestly they taste so much better than bottled and so much better for you too! Visit our Salad Recipes which are packed with some great salad dressing recipes.
5. Juice Boxes
Another item that we can sometimes get great deals on but, again, when you can’t, don’t waste your money on this convenience.
6. Baby Food
Baby food is just so easy to make and easy to store. You can freeze them in ice cube trays and pop them out when ready to serve. Not only is it less expensive, it’s a much healthier option for your little one. If you haven’t made your own baby food check out how to get started making baby food.
7. Flavored Water
If you want flavored water, you can easily chop up a lemon or lime and add it to a water bottled filled with filtered water. So much cheaper! We use this great Infusion Water Pitcher that we keep in the frig with lemon and limes.
8. Pre-cut Produce
There we go with convenience again. Precut produce is always more expensive and not worth the expense. If cutting down the time to get dinner on the table is important to you then consider taking an hour on a Sunday or an evening to prepare the vegetables ahead of time so during the week all you have to do is grab and go.
9. Organic Produce
Let me clarify this for some of you that are 100% organic. If buying organic is important to you then buying it at a grocery store is not the route you should be going. It’s going to be expensive. Seek out alternate sources such as local farms, farmers markets, co-ops, etc. Also, if you like organic, note that you don’t have to buy everything organic. Be sure to check out the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen for a list of the 12 items you should buy organic and the 15 that there is no need to waste your money on. Topping the list of the Dirty Dozen are Apples, Strawberries and Grapes. The Clean Fifteen starts with Avocados, Corn and Pineapples.
10. Individual Packaged Products
Another convenience item! Unless it’s free, don’t waste the money on these single serving packs. Buy family size packs and put them into small snack bags. Save money even more and get reusable snack bags.
I’d love to hear what items you have opted not to purchase at the grocery store. Do you refuse to buy granola bars because you make your own? Do you make your own bread and are able eliminate that expense at the grocery store? Share ways you have found that have helped your family save.