1. Take an Inventory Figure out what you already have, and then build your menu for the week around that.  Every time veggies expires, Paula Deen dies a little inside.
  2. Go Online Before I make a meal plan or list, I see what I have, and then I see what’s on sale to decide what we’re going to eat.
  3. Make a Meal Plan If you go into the shopping trip knowing what you need for the week – and not guessing – you’re going to save a ton of money.
  4. Make a List Again – don’t guess. If  you don’t make a list, you will forget things you need, and buy stuff you don’t.
  5. Buy in Bulk – But Only When It’s Really Cheap Just because it’s bulk, doesn’t mean it’s cheaper, However, each week I put aside a part of our budget to stock up on cheap bulk items. Eventually, this will reduce your overall bill because your shopping in your pantry and freezer and not in the grocery store.
  6. Shop Two Stores – or Three  I check the weeklies (or websites) of a couple of different stores each week. Some people would think it’s a waste of time to go to two different stores, but most of us are doing it anyway, and different things are on sale at different stores.
  7. Do a Seasonal Stock Up The only time I can get canned pumpkin on sale is October and November. So I stock up for the year (I use it as a substitute to oil in muffins.)
  8. Sing up for the Store’s Loyalty Card
  9.  Beware of Prepared Food Don’t buy those little packages of pre-cooked chicken – It’s much cheaper to throw a few frozen chicken breasts into the over and make your own.
  10. Try One Store Brand a Week  
  11. Plan for Leftovers – and then Eat Them
  12. Use Your Food Processor I use it to grate cheese, and slice up veggies as soon as we get home from the store. Don’t ever, ever, buy precut veggies at the store.
  13. Double Your Batch When you find a sale on chicken breasts, double the recipe of whatever you’re cooking and freeze the second dinner for another night.
  14. Plan a YOYO Dinner Once a week, have a You’re On Your Own night where everyone  can eat up leftovers.
  15. Buy Cleaners in Concentrate Mixing your won will save you tons. Just purchase (or repurpose) a spray bottle and label it properly.
  16. Make Stew Stew is a great way of stretching your ground beef or turkey into a satisfying meal.
  17. Make Your Own Salad Wash your greens in a salad spinner and store them in a Ziploc with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  18. Challenge Yourself to reduce your food bill by 5% a month for six months. Just by paying attention, you could be spending 30% on my bill in less than half a year.
  19. Learn to Make Marinades They are super easy, and when you find meat on sale, stock up and throw it into a Ziploc with the marinade and you have a meal in minutes.
  20. Make Your Own Croutons Chop up leftover/dry bread into crouton sized pieces, and then toss about four cupfuls with ¼ cup melted butter, and some grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 12 minutes at 350.
  21. Plan One Meatless Meal a Week

What’s your favorite way to be a savvy shopper?

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