Saving money seems pretty simple when you see a sale and a coupon. But how do you save on those items you need which never have coupons? You know the items I am referring to — meats, dairy, produce and breads. Believe it or not, you really can save on these items, even if you don’t have a coupon!
Below find some easy tips on saving on your dairy, meat, produce and bread/grain items. Even when you don’t have coupons, it doesn’t mean you can’t still save money!!
Know Your Dairy Prices. Many times, stores like Aldi sell milk at a much lower price than your regular store or even larger chains. I actually see milk priced at $1.99 – $2.49 a gallon compared to $3.49 – $3.89 in the grocery store. For that savings, it can be worth stopping by your store.
Shop the Store Brands. Did you know that store brands are big brands with a store label on them? The store brands are oftentimes priced at a lower price than those with a label on them. Just avoiding the brand labels can help you to save.
Pay Attention To Dates. Read the dates on your packages. If you know you will not consume items past the Best If Use By date, then it could result in wasted food and wasted money.
- “Sell-By” — This is the date by which the store can display the item for sale. If you find an item past this date, it does not mean it is bad, but you might get a discount. In most cases, you should purchase the item prior to this date to allow time for consumption before quality begins to decline.
- “Best if Used By” — This date is reflected to let you know the date recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- “Use-By” — This date is the last date that the manufacturer recommends you use the product. Again, this is not a safety issue, but a quality issue.
Stock up when on sale. It just makes sense that when you find a great deal on products that you purchase additional items and save them in your freezer. You can even do this on milk — just pour a bit into a glass and then put the cap back on and it can be frozen!
MEATS / SEAFOOD
Shop in the early morning. Many times, the meat items which are nearing the sell by dates will be discounted at this time of the day. Even if you don’t plan on eating it right away, just take it home and freeze it.
Buy in bulk. Many times, you can get your meat at a reduced price per pound if you buy a larger quantity at once. You don’t want it to go to waste, so purchase freezer bags and break it out into smaller sized portions and freeze it. Make sure you note what it is and the date frozen on it, so you make sure to use it up before it become freezer burned.
Purchase larger sizes. If you buy a whole chicken and then cut it up yourself, you can often times pay less. When I an item is cut up for you, you do pay more for that convenience. Finding these items can save you money.
Check out your butchers. Sometimes, you can find a lower price at these stores. It never hurts to look into using them.
Avoid the Deli. I’ve purchase both packaged and deli meats and to be honest, I can not tell too much difference. Not only that, packaged items often have coupons whereas deli meats usually do not.
Weigh everything. When you’re buying product that is a set price for a package, like $1 for a 2lb bag of carrots, take an extra minute and weight 3 or 4 bags. The suppliers can have a +/- of a certain weight on the package and still be within the guidelines to sell the product. So if you weight the package you’ll be able to get more product for your money.
Check packaging. Items are sometimes sold by a flat price in containers. Check these and find those with more quantity inside (you can weight them as well). Sometimes, you will get more bang for your buck.
Always buy in season. When you try to buy an item out of season, you will pay more for it. Therefore, plan your dining and meals around the items in season.
Forget the store completely. Why not grow your own? You can do a raised garden bed or perhaps even find a community garden where you can work with others to reap a great crop. You can save money plus feel good about growing it yourself.
Check out canned or frozen. If you are using your item as part of an larger entree, this can be a way to cut down on cost (and time). Just double check the packaging content.
BREADS / GRAINS
Bread outlet stores. Many brands of bread have outlet or day old stores. The bread that is left on the truck at the end of the day that stores didn’t need, or that they pulled because it was within a day or two of the sell by date go to these stores and are marked down for quick sale. You can typically find bread anywhere from 50%-75% off of the store retail price. Many times, you can find items like specialty whole wheat breads for only $1 when they retail for around $4 at the stores.
Make your own. Bread is actually pretty easy to make. You can find great easy recipes in well known cookbooks like Better Home & Gardens. Even without using coupons and stocking up on ingredients you can cut your cost by at least 50% on a loaf of bread. Homemade bread can also be frozen, so you can bake 4-6 loaves in one day and freeze all but one and thaw them as needed. A bread machine is an investment, but it makes the process of making bread take you about 5-10 mins and almost gaurentees a loaf everytime that comes out right!
Stock up when on sale. It just makes sense that when you find a great deal on products that you purchase additional items and save them in your freezer. Whether you make your own, find a good sale, or make a monthly trip to the outlet store you can freeze.
Stick with the store brand. Just because it has your store name on it does not mean it is lower quality. Store brands are in name brands in a different wrapper. Try them – you just might be surprised that you can not tell the difference.
Make your own croutons. Bread can dry out before you use it. You can save that bread and make your own croutons – saving yourself money. There are many recipes out there — here is one idea.
Rice in bulk. Rice is one of those staples that you can find in most bulk food stores. Whether it is a natural food stores, specialty asian food store, or in an Amish community, rice is a reasonably priced grain that you can buy in bulk to get the best price and it stores well for a long time.
Did you learn a few new tips or ideas? Perhaps there are more you know of which are not listed here. Please share with us by leaving a comment below!