When you shop, try to base your shopping list
around a planned series of meals. That way, you
lessen the odds of impulse-buying food that you
don't need, and that might go off. What's more,
planning ahead increases the chance that you'll
deliberately seek out a cheap meal.
out The Fool's Living Below Your Means discussion
board and our Recipes and Cooking board for low-cost
recipe ideas! Here's an interesting, if quirky,
post about menu planning, for example.
for 'reduced for quick sale' items
The exception to this 'meal planning' principle
are meals planned around 'reduced for quick sale'
(RFQS) items. Get into the habit of making the
RFQS counters regular stops on your shopping trips,
and develop an eye for a bargain. Meat, fish and
most chilled or ready-cooked meals can usually
be frozen -- but so can bread, pastries and rolls.
This one is a no-brainer and doesn't really need
an explanation. Dinners you prepare at home are
significantly less expensive than meals you pay
someone else to prepare.
Generic and store-brand products are often processed
at the same plants as name brand products, but
they are much cheaper because they aren't advertised.
A significant portion of the price you pay for
a name brand product is to cover the high cost
of advertising it in the various media. This is
why name brand breakfast cereals cost $1 or $2
more than the generic brand and why Tylenol or
Bayer pain relievers cost $3 or $4 more than the
generic brand that isn't advertised. Stop paying
for all those television commercials and print
ads and you will save more than $500 per year.
out the middlemen!
Farmers' markets offer good quality food at better
prices than you'd pay elsewhere. If you can't
get to a farmer's market, at least buy a sack
of potatoes at the farm gate. (Hint: most farms
sell half sacks, too -- and if you don't pass
many farm gates, you'll sometimes see sacks of
spuds offered for sale at places like truck stops,
country petrol stations and the like.)
Bulk buying can offer genuine savings, especially
if you share out the produce among friends and
neighbours. Sacks of rice, for example, are absurdly
cheap from Asian grocers -- simply divvy up the
sack to make substantial savings.
Food doesn't get much cheaper than free. Nettle
soup is real favourite in our household -- here's
a short thread on the subject.
TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a firm
favourite on several of our boards -- this is
his nettle soup recipe for those who like their
recipe quantities a little more precise! This
detailed post gives lots of information about
free food from the wild in general.
There are times when the supermarket is practically
giving away fruits and vegetables and other times
when they cost a fortune. Buy fruits and vegetables
in season and only if they are reasonably priced.
Learn to enjoy fruits and vegetables that are
available year-round at a low cost, such as bananas
and carrots. If you have the time, you can buy
when produce is cheap and prepare and freeze it
for later use.
vending machines and bring your own snacks/drinks
You pay significantly less for the candy bars
and soda pop you buy at the grocery store than
from a vending machine.
buy what you don't really need
There are many products we buy because we love
them, but don't really need them. Good examples
are soft drinks, sugary snacks and other sweets.
Giving them up will improve your health, reduce
your medical and dental-related expenses and fatten