We all know that we can save money at the market by using coupons and shopping the sales. While this can help, I wanted more. First of all, a lot of the foods I like to prepare for our family are not the kinds of foods that have coupons. When I look through the coupons for our local grocery store, I see coupons for fruity cereals that are 98% sugar, and then there are coupons for gummy snacks that make me look for my toothbrush just thinking about them. I definitely have treats for the fam, but junk food is not our entire diet! And since my family does like to eat every single day of the year, I am not going to wait for shopping only during the sales at the store before I grocery shop.
So let's find other ways to save money and still feed our families well.
☆ Opt for DRY ingredients instead of canned.
This can be true for so many options, but here are a couple of my favorites:
Not only are these a cheaper option when purchased dry, but I also prefer the texture and taste when they are cooked from dry, rather than pouring them out of a can. I can also control the ingredients and salt content that way.
If you do not usually cook these, it may just take some fun experimentation in the kitchen to work them into your rotation. You can add staples like beans and lentils to meats, pastas, rice dishes, soups, and stews. They are even a great side on their own when seasoned well. Adding beans or lentils to dishes will add to the volume of the dish, plus they add fiber and protein. Win-win situation!
☆ It's okay to cook with generic products. Really--it is!
Always browse the bottom or the top shelf. Eye-level products are almost always name-brand products that cost more per ounce. The bottom and top shelves are where you will most likely find off-brand versions of the same thing. The store is a business, so they keep the more expensive items on the middle shelf, where it is easiest for you to see and purchase them. That's totally fine; you just have to know where to look if you want to save some dough.
There are definitely certain items that I choose to buy a specific brand only. But most of the time, I find that generic versions are very similar if not the exact same as their branded counterparts.
☆ Inventory what you already have.
This is HUGE! I can't stress this enough. Look in your pantry, fridge, freezer, and spice cabinet. You likely have more than you realize. Using those items now means not having to buy duplicates or similar items at all. That is the biggest money-saving tip.
Hope these are helpful to you! And I would love to hear your ideas as well. Share them with us!
For more inspiration on cooking and doing life in general, we would love to say HEY in our Facebook community. Come join us! https://www.facebook.com/groups/smallstepsandselfcare