Save money on these groceries with these simple tips from buying in bulk to freezing and drying fresh meats and produce.
Saving money on groceries can not only be rewarding for the pocketbook, but it can also be personally empowering. For those of us who are having to stretch every dollar we earn for the expenses we have and owe, groceries along with costs for medications are two things many people are having to sacrifice in order to meet other financial obligations.
Listed below are tips that the average consumer can put into action to help save more money and cut costs on grocery bills.
Buying in Bulk
With super-centers like Costco and Super WalMart, the convenience of buying in bulk attracts a lot of attention. But is buying in bulk always a great way to save? The answer is, sometimes. Not all bulk items are priced to save the consumer money so a great tip is to check local ads on what that item would cost if it were purchased in single units. In the case where items are less expensive in bulk, then it's a great idea to save up a little extra in order to buy those items in bulk. In the long run, they actually help to cut corners and make that trip to the super-center worth it.
Bulk items are not only available in these super-centers but everywhere. We just have to know where to look. Store end caps are a great spot but so are other out-of-the-way areas of the store in which they are trying to cheap sell bulk quantities of discontinued items. Many times, the store managers will be willing to offer a lower rate for items that have been discontinued, especially seasonal items that they are trying to 'move' to make room for new merchandise.
For example, during Halloween or harvest time, many grocery stores are willing to sell left over pumpkins for cheaper bulk rates if a consumer is willing to purchase a large amount. Or how about those bundles of flowers that the in-store florist is about to toss due to the fact it is an organic item that will soon deteriorate. Asking them for lower rates in exchange for purchasing a bulk quantity can provide a great deal.
Food Prep for Bulk Produce
For those who are able to find a great deal on produce that could spoil before you consume it all, you have a couple easy choices; freeze it or dry it. Vaccuum sealing saves money on items that you can store in the freezer for a later date so that it remains fresh and usable even months later. With some produce like herbs, if they are purchased in bundles like from a farmers market, they can be hung upside down until they are dried. And from there, they can be portioned out, crushed or lightly crumbled in which they can be stored in glass jars or ziploc containers. It is fresher and less expensive than purchasing already packaged herbs and seasonings in grocery stores.
End Caps and Sale Racks
Many stores, to move an item quicker, will supply large quantities of products on end caps or in designated sale departments. Keep an eye out for great deals and if you spot something you're interested in, you can also double your savings on the discounted price by asking for a deal for purchasing larger quantities.
Sale racks for grocery items are not always easy to spot, even if they are shelved on end caps. So be sure to grab a sales paper or check out the sales written in the entry ways of the stores to spot a great deal.
Thrift shopping is no longer just for clothing, toys, kitchen utensils and old books. It is becoming more popular to see resale shops that offer food products that have either passed their expiration date or have had damaged containers like the box or can that has been dented or ripped. Resale food items can cost the consumer 25% of its original price just because it has passed expiration. If a product has been vacuum sealed, the food item will be good shelved up to several years depending on the ingredients. We know how much salad dressings, sauce mixes, cereals and snacks can be. Places like this offer a great solution for those cutting costs on groceries.
Grow it Yourself
Growing food doesn't need to be secluded for people who own a large farm, backyard or countryside dwelling. There are many innovative ways in which even a city dweller can grow food items that add flavor, freshness and cheaper routes to keeping food tasty.
Some people prefer to grow herbs indoors that they can set on their window sill. This is good but it can be a little daunting waiting for the herbs to reach maturity and provide enough growth to be sustainable without having to substitute with herbs from the store. Hanging shelves with grow trays are perfect for those who plan to grow food indoors and save space while doing it. Having large planter pots that can grow in the corners of a room with the aid of an energy efficient grow light offers a good alternative to purchasing food at the store. For example, some berry plants, potatoes, or even pole varieties like bean plants that can grow up a lattice in the corner or side of a wall can be fun to grow and provide food that can be produced year round.
Get the End-of-Season Deals
Most cities and small towns have a great selection of farmers markets that support local farmers and growers. Nearing the end of season, many growers are looking to just be rid of their extra bounty and are willing to cheap sell what they have left. Take advantage of the offer and what you cannot eat right away, freeze or dry it.
Make a Deal with Local Farms
Many local farms, including poultry farms that raise produce, beef or chickens for example, are often willing to offer great deals for returning business or for those who are willing to buy in bulk. Not only that, smaller farms that raise produce or animals just for themselves that end up having extra left over, an opportunity to work together can be an option for both homes to benefit. The farmer receives pay for the extra they have and the consumer receives quality food for great prices.
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