Everybody can use some thrifty tips with the state of our economy right now. Try a little thriftiness - it looks good on anybody!
I had a lot more to say about this than I realized, so I decided to focus on one area. Several years ago, our budget was super tight and we cut back everywhere that we could - no cable, free internet service, lowest phone plan, etc. The one area where we saw the biggest opportunity to save money was food and groceries. So that is what I'm covering today. You may already be practicing all of these ideas, but hopefully you will find something you can use.
This is one area that you can make a huge difference in your budget. First of all - where are you shopping? If you just shop at the grocery store down the street out of convenience and because their produce section is"pretty" - you might be surprised at how much extra money you are spending.
I shop at the cheapest grocery store we have. It is not the prettiest and you bag your own groceries and it's always busy - but the money I save is huge (It's WinCo)! How do you know which one is cheapest? Compare the prices. I will say that if you have a Super Walmart - that is probably your cheapest or close to it. Also, they will honor sale prices from other grocery stores if cheaper than their price. In my area, WinCo still beats Walmart on many items - it depends on what you're buying.
Years ago, when our budget was REALLY tight, I made a list of all the items I bought during a couple of weekly grocery shopping trips. I wrote down the price of everything and checked a couple other grocery stores and wrote down prices of the same or comparable items. I found that WinCo was $30-$40 less for one shopping trip than the big name stores! And I even checked what I thought was another "cheap" grocery store, but WinCo still beat them by $15-$20 in one trip! That is an amazing difference!! Are you willing to pay an extra $100 a month for a "pretty" grocery store?
Also, try some generic items instead of name brand. You will save a lot that way, too. Now, through trial and error, I have discovered that I do prefer name brands in some items and some don't matter at all. Don't be afraid to try!
The last piece of advice I have for groceries is that you must look at price per ounce to get your best value. The bigger value packs and bagged cereals are not always the best deal! I was so surprised the first time that I discovered that a 4-pack of my favorite TP at the time was cheaper per roll than the 12-pack! Tricky! Always check price per item or per ounce that's listed on the store's price tag. By checking this, I have also found name brands on sale for less than the generic brand per ounce! And some things are cheaper at bulk stores like Costco and some are not - be careful to compare prices per item on those, too. Don't assume anything!
Going back again to my really tight budget days, I came up with several meals and calculated the cost of them, only making the cheapest ones. Here were our regulars:
- Pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce made in the slow cooker with the extra frozen for another meal.
- Roasted whole chicken with vegetables- slow cooker or oven, then use the carcass to make homemade chicken noodle soup
- Beef stew - slow cooker again!
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Poached chicken breasts with apples (probably one of the costlier - but a nice dinner for company and I usually had most of the ingredients on hand)
- Fettucine with chicken and peas
These things saved us a lot of money then and still save us money now. Other ways we save are by shopping at thrift stores and by making homemade gifts.
Have you tried a little thriftiness on with that outfit?