With rising food costs and tightening budgets, cutting grocery costs is a necessity rather than an option for some households. The good news is that smart shopping, rather than cutting back, is key to lowering your monthly shopping bills without eliminating quality.
Spend Less on Proteins
Meat, fish and poultry eat up big percentage of your grocery budget. Substitute where you can to create delicious, healthy meals that won't break the bank. Salmon is a rich source of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, but can be more expensive than other fish, depending on where you live. Eat canned tuna to get your protein and healthy fats. Substitute tuna for ground beef in spaghetti sauce to reduce spending and saturated fat and cholesterol.
Buy cheaper cuts of beef, such as flank steak and sirloin, to save money; the less you spend on beef, the less fat and cholesterol you'll get. The opposite is true of ground beef. Add beans to soups, and nuts to salads to get protein.
Grow a Garden
Fresh, organic vegetables can be expensive, depending on where you live. They get even more costly in the winter. Start your own garden to take a bite out of your food bill. Learn how to jar and freeze vegetables to keep your bills low in the winter. Keep items such as tomato sauce, jam, fruit salad and pickles on hand year round.
Take Advantage of Sales and Promotions
Call your local grocery store to find if one day of the week is best for savings; many supermarkets choose Wednesday to offer sales, promotions and other discounts.
Check your local newspaper and go online to find coupons that lower your bill in the store or provide rebates that can add up each month.
Do you really need flowers on your toilet paper? Many of the brand-name products you buy come in generic versions, costing much less than their advertised counterparts and offering the same quality. If you've never purchased generics before, you are in for a big budget surprise.