One word. Bulk foods. This will save you A LOT of money when it comes to grains, beans, nuts, seeds and spices. As you start to build up your bulk food supply, you will find that you are shopping and spending less on the essentials. I typically stock up on old-fashioned oats (I have even found a store with gluten free!), long-grain brown rice, quinoa, black beans, and several spices. Storing your bulk supplies in glass jars keeps them fresh and even adds some display beauty to your cupboards.
Organic selection. Only some fruits and veggies are necessary to buy in the organic section, so no need to sweat if you aren’t solely shopping 100% organic. You can look at my previous post for items to buy organically or the App store actually has an app (Dirty Dozen) that lists produce items with the most pesticides (ones you will want to purchase as organic) and which items are safe to buy from the non-organic section.
Farmers Markets (my FAVORITE). I love LOVE farmers markets and produce stands! There is a wonderful one in my area that I purchase a majority of our produce from during the summer months. Almost all produce (items in season) will cost less at the Farmers Market when compared to the grocery store and an added bonus is shopping local to support our communities! Selecting items that are in season is a BIG MUST when trying to save money. For example, I just saw an ad for asparagus that was $0.98/lb which is a steal but out of season… I have seen it as much as $6.98/lb! Wowza that is crazy.
Coupons, coupons, coupons! Coupon clipping may seem time consuming but it can also save a lot of money. The weekly ad always arrives on Wednesdays at our house which gives me a couple days to map out the big shopping trip on the weekend. Planning and couponing go hand and hand and can save you big. When you have a plan for a week of meals, you not only stick to your list in the store but you can also see what you already have (versus buying it because you can’t remember) and you can see if your items are on sale.
Be creative. Purchasing and cooking a whole chicken is much more cost efficient than just the breasts however, you may have to be creative with your leftovers! This is where you get to have some fun. Most times if I know I have leftover quinoa already cooked, I look through the cupboards and come up with a random recipe. Eating your leftovers may not be your favorite, but jazzing them up with ingredients you have on hand not only reduces food waste but saves you time and money in the kitchen.
My husband always calls me “The creative queen” when it comes to dinner because I really do just throw stuff together and expect him to eat it! J Last night I was tired and did not want to put effort into dinner so I took quinoa I had cooked on Sunday and added some ingredients to make a dish I am actually quite impressed with!