(BPT) - With rising prices of food and other essential household items, it can feel like every trip to the grocery store costs more than the last one. Fortunately, there are smart ways to approach grocery shopping that can help you save money, while also making sure that your family is eating nutritious — and delicious — meals every day.
Here are five ideas to help you save money on food with a little planning ahead, and by shopping smarter.
1. Make a plan
Weekly meal planning is a simple yet effective way to save time and money on groceries. By planning ahead, you can also make sure you’re making the best use of leftovers, and that you're not overlooking items you already have in your pantry.
First, do an inventory of your pantry and fridge for items you already have that can be used for this week’s meal plan. Pay special attention to any perishable items like fresh produce that may need to be used up more quickly.
Next, list meals you plan to make each day with an eye toward saving time — such as cooking a larger batch of meatloaf, a whole chicken or a casserole your family loves so you’ll have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Tricks that save time — like double batch cooking you can do on weekends — will almost always save money too, as you’re using bulk ingredients and reducing food waste.
If you know your leftovers won't be used right away, freeze the extra amount. Be sure to label and date your freezer bag or container so you’ll know what’s in there.
By planning for the whole week, you'll make fewer trips to the store, so you’ll be less likely to impulsively buy items you don’t need. Planning ahead also means you know exactly how you’ll use the ingredients you’re buying.
2. Find a grocery store offering the best value
Where you shop can make a huge difference. If you’re looking to save money on everyday groceries, Save A Lot has your back. Save A Lot is your go-to hometown value grocer, and the ultimate destination to fuel your family on a budget, offering quality ingredients and value every day.
Find a Save A Lot store in your neighborhood at SaveALot.com/grocery-stores-near-me.
3. Choose meals based around low-cost ingredients
You can feed even a large family well if your meals center on ingredients that offer more bang for your buck. Here are some meal ideas you can make with items from Save A Lot's private label brands for under ten dollars (less than two tanks of gas):
- Sloppy Joes: ground beef, sloppy Joe sauce and hamburger buns
- Loaded baked potatoes: baked potatoes, shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits
- Grilled cheese and tomato soup: bread, American cheese and canned tomato soup
- Spaghetti and garlic bread: pasta, jarred tomato sauce and bread sticks
- Hot dogs: hot dogs, buns, baked beans and chips
4. Be flexible
Within your weekly meal plan, be ready to swap out an ingredient or two (or an entire meal) if you see items on sale, find online or store coupons that will save you money — and keep an eye out for in-season produce that looks really good.
To check out weekly coupons and more, visit SaveALot.com.
5. Shop alone or order online
To avoid other family members (especially little ones) persuading you to pick up impulse buys, try to shop alone if you can, or order your grocery items online. That way you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending, with no last-minute surprises.
Using some of these tips, you can help feed your family better each week — without breaking the bank.