A special thanks to Neil Goddard for this helpful guest post on saving money at the grocery store, plus other grocery shopping options and tips. Enjoy.
Finding some old fashioned ways to save money on food shopping
There’s an old saying ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’. With saving time and money when it comes to household bills on everyone’s mind these days, there is something to be said for not only these old sayings, but for some plain old fashioned methods of housekeeping. One area that may seem insignificant when it comes to saving money is food shopping. However, it is surprising just how much you can save over a month by taking a leaf or two out of granny’s housekeeping book. If the effort to be a super-mom and provide healthy, affordable meals seems just too daunting, think again. Healthy and affordable is not as difficult as it might seem!
Frozen Veggies and small portions
At least one supermarket is currently promoting the idea that you can feed a family of 4 for a week for $81 as long as you buy their products. Having looked at their menu plan I can’t say that their claim is unfounded – If your family likes small portions and frozen vegetables [it wouldn’t be that difficult.] Mine don’t, sadly. However, for many years I was able to feed a family of two on $32 a week yes breakfasts and lunches included. As the family grew and the prices of food went up I have to admit the $32 figure certainly grew, however, the challenge that this particular supermarket is laying down is not much of a challenge to most hardened domestic goddesses of the land.
Not so super markets
Firstly, if you can, don’t shop for fresh food in supermarkets. Visit your local market, if it hasn’t been driven out of town by the supermarket that is. Stallholders have far fewer overheads than the big stores, so consequently their prices are much lower. While down at the market sample a few local butchers’ shops as well to find good deals on meat and dairy products. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always cheaper on small markets, compared to the supermarkets which means you can afford to provide better sized portions. Of course this type of shopping is going to lead to a distinct lack of ready meals in the fridge. And the problem with that is? Ready meals are OK, but they’ve all kinds of additives that keep them fresh and probably embalm your family’s insides at the same time.
Admittedly not every super-mom is the best cook in the world but with a bit of practice it really isn’t that hard! Most evenings I fall back on my ‘quick & easy’ recipe list, because I don’t have time to do much else. The quick and easy list has grown over the years, which means I can conjure up a decent meal in less than half an hour – The same time it takes to heat up a lot of ready meals in the oven. There’s some preparation involved but none of the fancy messing about that TV chefs lead you to believe is involved in â€˜quick and easy’.
The online alternatives
If the local market is no more, then there are some interesting modern versions, amongst these is shopping online for groceries. I’ve tried most methods that have appeared in the last few years and I have to say that there are some huge benefits. Supermarkets are fine for all the stuff you need to stock up tins, cereals and cleaning products. Because this is usually a once a month job you can make the most of the three for two sort of offers and while there can be a delivery charge you can spend enough to make it worthwhile saving your own gas and time or get free delivery. Online shopping for the â€˜big shop’ can also cost less because you tend to stick to the list and not get distracted by things you don’t really need.
There is also a new, better (I think) type of online grocery shopping now appearing. A number of dairies have diversified to avoid going out of business and rather than just delivering milk, they now offer a range of daily essentials. To be honest the range is pretty good. Fresh fruit, vegetables, pet food, cleaning products, cereals, tea and coffee I could go on. So far this is my favorite online shopping service.
Not only do they stock everything I manage to run out of frequently despite a fairly robust plan of attack when it comes to staying stocked up they offer it with free delivery and ordering times up to nine pm. So even while I am battling for control of the kitchen with the cat at 6:30 in the morning, I don’t have to think about â€˜nipping’ to the shop. Everything is either on the doorstep or trundling down the street. The cat approves of this method of grocery shopping too she’s glad I’ve finally caught up with the benefits of leaving food on the doorstep.
Neil Goddard is a blogger and internet wizard with a healthy focus on being frugal and a not so healthy focus on amazing food. Neil is a big believer in fresh food and local produce and a strong supporter of his local suppliers and milkmen, you’ll find Neil frequently guest blogging on topics relating to food, the family and frugality.