*tips aren’t in any particular order*
1. make @ least 1 meal a week with an exotic ingredient
Now, I know there are a lot of people who eat seasonally & locally so obviously this tips isn’t for you. But for everyone else, hear me out on this. Pick a new food like a plantain or Yuca root and make a simple dinner with this ingredient. Plantains & Yuca roots are super cheap but rather healthy for you. Plantains are around $.50 ea and the Yuca root is between $1-2 a piece where I live. If you live in a city where there is a Spanish store, you will get an even better deal.
These foods are typically used in the Spanish communities and it is where I was introduced to them. Try looking for ingredients or recipes in other cultures that feed their families for less, like Spanish or Philippians or African nations, to list a few. **I wrote more about this in my previous Frugal Families post**
2. price match as much as you can
This is by far the best tip ever, in which you can save a ton of money. I personally, only price match at Walmart or Target. Out of the 2 of them, Walmart is my preferred place to price match. They make it easier since you can price match at any register including self check out. And they also do price matching without seeing proof of the prices. Even though 2 out of 3 cashiers asked for a flyer. At Target, you can price match but you need proof as well as you need to check out at the service desk. So price matching could be a pain at Target.
3. know the policies for each store regarding coupons & price matching
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge. The more you know about their policies, the better you can use it to save your family money. And until you are comfortable, you should print the policy out and carry it with you. Just in case. Why waste a trip and waste your gas money, if you don’t need to.
4. make a simple menu……….stick to it……………
Now, I know there are a ton of resources for all areas of meal planning. If that works for you and your family, then by all means use it. But for us it doesn’t so I have to do my weekly meal plan myself. I look up recipes, figure out whats on sale, and put together a simple meal plan. And when I say “simple”, I mean simple. There is no need to make things harder on myself. All I simply do is write out the weeks meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks). Then from the items I don’t have on hand, I write my grocery list.
5. shop according to your meals
When you go shopping, instead of starting at the beginning of the store, start with your list and the items you need for your weekly meals. Get everything on your list and after you get everything you need, then you can leave or get the extra things that you want. By shopping this way, I always make sure that my meals, snacks, and drinks are bought and everything else is extra.
6. anything left over either save or buy extra items
Like I stated above, you use the money left over for any extra items. If you don’t have enough, then you don’t get your special extra grocery items.
7. learn how to play drugstore game
Knowing how to successfully play the drugstore game is the best way to maximize your savings. The items I buy at drugstores are: health & beauty care, medicines, certain food items, & household cleaners. I don’t use coupons that much for price matching, but I do use coupon for my drugstore trips. And whenever possible, I double up on coupons, savings more.
8. learn when & where to use coupons to maximize your savings
I stopped using coupons with my grocery shopping, since it was taking to much time and I wasn’t getting the savings that I really wanted. But like I said above, I do use coupons with drugstores. And in doing so, I get a lot of free or super cheap items year round. I made it into a little game for myself, where I spend $5-$10 per week and see how much I can get for that.
9. learn how to successfully bulk shop without waste
Buying bulk can save you money only if you know how to correctly buy items & learn how to store bulk items. Otherwise, you could end up wasting more money with unused foods. Make sure you buy bulk items that you use everyday. And double check, making sure you know how to store the bulk items you buy.
10. waste less
This is the biggest problem in my house. We waste a lot more food than I would like to. That’s why I have been looking into ways to waste less and use up more. I wish I could say our family was like the ones living in San Francisco, where they recycle about 80% of their trash. They as a city took on this huge project of getting rid of disposables and using items that last awhile. More of us should be doing what they are, to help our environment.
11. extend produce & other food life
Do your research on ways to extend your produce and groceries. There are numerous articles explaining different ideas on extending your shelf life of the products you buy, which does include produce.
12. start off slowly & work your way up
Start off slow, picking one area to work on or else you might get overwhelmed and give up. Add new projects or ideas as you feel comfortable doing them. You aren’t on anyone else’s time but your own. Remember that.
13. know what loss leaders are & how to save money with them
Loss leaders are the items on sale on the front page of a grocery store flyer. Those are the products that that store is selling at cost, no making money from it. It you learn where to get different flyers, you could save a ton of money. Remember you can price match any store to Walmart or Target, which includes drugstores, local mom & pop stores etc….As long as you can prove it, you are golden. I usually get this free new mailer every week in my mail. In the middle of this mailer, there is a small mom & pop grocery store always advertising their sales, which are usually pretty good. I use the one page teaser flyer and price match at Walmart. It’s great.
14. don’t feel embarrassed-It’s hard sometimes, to not be embarrassed. There are moments I don’t want to be frugal and save money. But I get over those feelings pretty fast when I know the deals I am getting is helping my family a lot. It enables me to stay home with my 5 kids as well as helps me do the extra things with our kids, we normally wouldn’t be able to do.
15. SMILE………..cause you saving your family money-I always leave the stores I get my deals with a huge smile. How could I not? I get some amazing deals, some I can’t believe I get.
Bonus tip: Cook Ethnic Dishes **This tip can be combined with tip #1.**
I thought about how the poorest countries eat for nothing & wanted to see if I could do the same. So I went to Pinterest, Google, and this site Global Table Adventures and found out this is very doable with limited prep. At Global Table Adventures she highlights different countries with her dishes as well as teaching you a little about that culture or dish. You can find some healthy cheap meals between these 3 resources. Use this tip as an educational experience where you can teach yourself and your family about different cultures that makes up our diverse world. This tip can be combined with tip #1.
Got any good money saving ideas? I would love to hear them. Free feel to post in the comment section.