If you want to save more money on groceries, like every other area of your finances, you’ve got to be honest with yourself. It’s common for people who’ve recently set out to reform their spending habits to go overboard with frugal living tips.
There’s one tip in particular that makes perfect sense in theory, but completely falls apart once put into practice. Surely you’ve heard the one that says you should avoid convenience foods.
Presumably, if you shuck your own corn, dice your own onions, and debone your own chickens, you’ll save money you would’ve paid the supermarket for this service. After all, you are trading time and money for convenience.
You naively believe a few extra minutes of food prep is easy enough until you realize you’re too busy, too lazy or too uninterested to bother. So, all that fresh produce and poultry spoils in the fridge meeting the same fate as your dreams of swapping a little bit of time for a lot of money.
We’ve got to make saving money easy. Otherwise, we won’t develop habits that’ll allow us to do so. When you come home from a soul crushing day at the office, do you really want to top your tacos with homemade guacamole, cheese you had to shred, and tomatoes that needed to be chopped?
NO! You’ll pay $16 for the Thai Square crispy fried duck before you do that. (Never mind me. I’m projecting.)
It took me a while to learn this lesson. For some reason, creating a meal from scratch evoked a since of accomplishment. But cooking grew into an unnecessary production involving hours of meal prep that yielded food that made me go “meh” instead of “mmm”. After guiltily hanging on to the nondelicious food for a week or so, I tossed it.
That’s over now. I know I ain’t doing all that work. It’s simply too much for a working woman to bear.
You’ll waste far less food and, resultantly, money, if you follow Shakespeare’s advice, “To thine own self be true.”
Here are a few convenience items that make cooking at home easier.
- Precut frozen broccoli, bell peppers, onions, and mixed vegetables
- Packaged seasonings and marinades
- Flavored rice
- Canned beans
- Instant grits
- Filleted fish
- Deveined shrimp
- Shredded cheese
With that said, I can’t leave without sharing the three best ways I know to save money by doing the work of your grocer.
- Divide leg quarters into thighs and drumsticks.
- Cut chuck roast into bite sized pieces for stews.
- Separate a family pack of meat into smaller portions.
Every one of those techniques require nothing more than a sharp knife and freezer bags.
What other practical tips do you use to save money on groceries?