Saving money on your groceries is becoming harder to do. However, if you want to do this, you should know how to shop properly and wisely. Using some of the shopping strategies I am going to tell you about, it will be easy for you to save money on your grocery bill and enjoy even more money in your wallet each month.
This summer, instead of signing our daughter up for a bunch of expensive programs we could not afford, we did a variety of cheaper classes. We did a couple of one-time art classes, a weekly gymnastics summer special, and two Dierbergs School of Cooking classes for ages kindergarten through first grade. We attend the first of these two classes today, and we left feeling impressed and excited about the next class.
Today’s class was called “Down on the Farm,” and it included a chicken dish cooked with potato chips, cupcakes, and “moo juice,” which was like an orange smoothie. About fifteen kids were in the class, so each child took turns going in front of the class and helping with ingredients and cooking. The kitchen in Dierbergs Cooking School is lovely—it’s as clean and pretty as it was 15 years ago when I took classes there as a child myself, and it’s shaped like a demo cooking area, with a U-shaped counter surrounded by chairs all facing a central kitchen. It was just as accessible to the children as it is to adults who take courses there.
And adults can take courses there every week! From couples classes to Girl’s Night Out, cooking demonstrations where you just eat to full cooking courses where you’ll make your own meals, they have something for everyone. While this class was for younger kids, they have older kids’ classes, too—including some fun TV-based ones for kids who enjoy Food Network programs like “Chopped,” “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” and other shows. My six-year-old loves “Chopped,” so I know once she’s in second grade if they still offer it, we’ll be doing that one!
The class for her age was only $12, which included all utensils and supplies, recipe handouts and coloring sheets for home, instruction, the meal itself, and clean-up—not bad! The class was an hour. Older kids’ classes do cost more, but they also make more items and spend a longer amount of time in the kitchen itself.
I highly recommend this program for any kids or adults who want to learn more about cooking—or who just want a fun night out with some good homemade food. They also have birthday party, scouting, and other group options if you are interested. For these options, you can either select from current themes the school offers, or you can call and request specific themes and menus that your children will be sure to enjoy.
It's a good way to save a little money too during your trips to the supermarket. While buying an extensive supply of vegetables and fruits is expensive, not having to buy meat more than balances out the bill. To replace meat, I opted for legumes, of course. Throughout the week, I made bean soup, bean chili, and red beans to go over rice. I also cooked a variety of peas. Legumes are one of the most inexpensive ingredients that can provide a main course for families.
This vegan eating style has been something I've been aiming to try after I noticed in summer that former President Bill "Bubba Loves Big Macs" Clinton lost all his weight and claimed to experience lower cholesterol and improved heart health.
The first three days were incredible. My energy was abnormally high and I had mental clarity. By the fourth day, however, I began to miss meat intensely. With meat banned, I couldn't buy chicken or beef broths to flavor the soup or any of my vegetables. I found that I missed the taste and began craving meat too much.
By the fifth day, I had fallen off the wagon. I did lose the five pounds I wanted but threatened to gain it all back during subsequent days when I went on a meat-eating spree.
So, I can't vouch for vegan grocery shopping as a fail-proof weight loss method, but I can say it will save you a little money on groceries (well, until fall off the wagon.)
Among the food items selling at a lower rate these days than in past years are: canned soup, hot cereals such as oatmeal and cream of wheat, and non-dairy creamers.
I am not surprised at this news. Soup, for which sales have reported declined nearly 9 percent, used to be an economical meal. These days, you might pay $2 to $4 for a can of soup that is barely satisfying for lunch. So much sodium has been added to soups that I avoid the canned varieties altogether. If you're home for the day, it doesn't take that long to get a pot of broth going, throw in some vegetables and make your own soup. It's actually cheaper if you consider how many servings you'll get.
I'm betting the hot cereal items that aren't not selling are the overly processed, quick-cooking packets. It's much cheaper to buy the generic simple oatmeal that hasn't been pre-cooked or put in special packages. It's better for you and lasts longer.
As for the plummeting sales of creamers, this is not a product necessity and clearly many people are deciding to buy essentials only.
Other items that customers are ignoring on the shelves include pickles, jellies, salad dressings, and drink mixes. Again, these are all incidentals. Savvy shoppers are clearly going for the main items necessary to make a meal. I generally make my own salad dressing from olive oil and vinegar. Drink mixes? LOL. Those haven't been worth buying for years.
I can only hope that with saved money, shoppers are trying to eat more healthily and buy more vegetables and fruits.
These stores have contracts with manufacturers to take on packaged goods that are near their expiration dates (And sometimes past them!) They sell the goods at a severe discount, saving families often more than 40 percent of the retail costs.
I've been able to get a few good deals at dollar stores, on items such as boxed rice, canned soup, muffin mixes and spices. (If you go to the dollar store for nothing else, go for spices. You can get an 8 oz. bulk bottle of dried seasonings for less than the price of a 2 oz or 3 oz bottle from mainstream grocery stores.)
Not everything is a good buy, though. Dollar stores often have discounts of foods that aren’t necessary to buy anyway, such as candy, Jell-o, and pudding. Families with young children may appreciate these cheap snacks, but I find them a waste of money.
Don't enter a dollar store expecting to find anything fresh. I've never seen fresh vegetables in a dollar store. Occasionally, there might be bags of oranges and other slow-to-spoil fruit. While no fresh meat can obviously be found at dollar stores, I have seen canned meats, hot dogs and some packaged lunch meats.
Use the dollar store solely to stock up on boxed items, canned foods, and frozen goods -- such as pasta, crackers, pizza or ice cream treats. Variety is limited, however -- as is quantitty. So,the best strategy is to shop at the dollar store first so that you know what’s NOT available. Then, get the remaining items at the regular grocery store.