I loved your feedback on yesterday’s grocery budget post! Clearly budgets are personal and different for everyone, but there are a few tips I use to help better spend our grocery dollars. I figured I’d share some of those for this WIAW (Thanks Jenn!).
1. Use up produce before it goes bad. One area I really try to focus on is not letting food go to waste. Meal planning and sneaking in produce wherever I can really helps. Yesterday’s omelet had zucchini from last week that was on it’s last legs. Omelets, soups, pizza toppings and smoothies are all great ways to make sure you don’t throw away money on produce.
2. Buy from bulk bins. Quite an overused ‘tip’ right? But it works. I try to buy all as many pantry staples as I can from bulk bins and it makes a big difference in cost. I buy oats, nuts, flour, quinoa, popcorn, barley, chia seeds and sometimes spices from bulk bins. I keep them in large, clear containers (after keeping them in the freezer for a couple days because of my fear of pantry moths ever returning). Then, I can use them to make large batches of foods to use throughout the week. This week was quinoa!
3. Avoid individually portioned sizes for foods you eat a lot of. Recently I’ve stopped buying the small yogurts. Instead, I buy a large container. This week it was a 32oz organic Stonyfield yogurt for $3.39. If I had bought 6 individual (6 oz) yogurts instead, my total would have been $7.98 for 36 oz.
4. Bulk up meals with in-season produce. We like meat, chicken and seafood, but those add up pretty quickly, especially if you buy high quality items. My answer is to buy smaller portions and bulk up meals with less-expensive produce. David and I split single steaks and I usually buy less than a recipe requires.
5. Edit recipes when possible. For example, last night’s shrimp kabobs were ‘supposed’ to be 1 lb of shrimp, tomatoes and a baguette. Since we don’t eat much bread, I skipped the baguette because I figured the remainder would go to waste. I only bought 3/4 lb of shrimp and instead I used more veggies to bulk up the meal.
Things turned out just fine.
6. Limit convenience items. If you can, take the time to prep your own fruits and vegetables or, heck, bake your own bread. I finally invested $20 in a salad spinner (thank you zulily for the discount!). It’s life changing. I usually buy the pre-washed packages of organic greens for $3.99 each (total $8.00). This week I bought organic romaine and organic red leaf lettuce for a total of $4.00 and ended up with twice the amount of greens!
7. Use only what you need at a given time. This week we ate half of an oversized avocado on Monday night with our Mexican layer bowls, then I used a bit for breakfast, a bit on my lunch salad and a bit for Hailey’s lunch plate.
8. Buy one treat. I usually end up buying one ‘treat’ item a week. Since my lunches and breakfasts get repetitive, I find having a new item or ingredient to jazz things up makes me happy. I’ve enjoyed this tzatziki as a dip for carrots, a salad dressing and a mix in for quinoa.
How do you use up food before it goes bad?
Do you have much to throw away by the end of the week?