Groceries can be a big part of your budget any time of year, but the winter months are often more expensive. The rise in cost is often due to the need to eat richer food in colder months. Holiday feasts also contribute to rising grocery costs in the winter. You can save money without skimping on nutrition if you just take some time to plan ahead. Here are a few tricks to save money on groceries during the winter season.
1. Take advantage of deals
Watch for sales on meat, dairy and other expensive products in the supermarket. When you see something on sale, try to buy extra. In most cases, extra products can be frozen. Even if the meat is very close to its expiry date, freezing it will keep it edible until you need it.
2. Use fillers
Instead of making the most expensive ingredient the main part of a meal, try mixing it with other foods. For example, ground beef can be mixed with beans to stretch it further. Just half a pound of meat will feed the same number of people you might normally need a pound of meat for if you stretch it.
3. Fill up on grains
In general, grains are cheaper than other types of food. They are also carbohydrates, so they give you the necessary calories to stay warm in the winter. Try oatmeal for breakfast and have sandwiches for lunch to take advantage of grains. Grains, especially whole grains, are chock full of health benefits.
4. Make it from scratch
Baking a cake from scratch takes very little time and it is almost the same as baking one from a mix. You may spend one or two extra minutes adding ingredients, but it is worth it for the savings. Recipes for everything from tomato sauce to homemade bread can be found online, so there is no excuse not to try.
5. Use coupons
Chances are, you check the coupons in your local paper each time you get it, but there may not be anything you need. You have other options, though. Try looking online for coupons to your favorite foods. You can even write your favorite companies a nice letter and you may receive coupons in return.
6. Hold potluck dinners
During the winter season we tend to have plenty of dinners with family, friends and neighbors. All those dinners can seriously wreck your budget, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t host any dinner. Instead of hosting a holiday dinner all on your own, invite everyone to bring a dish. Everyone shares the cost and you can still enjoy a fun dinner together.
7. Buy bulk
When it comes to food you know you’re going to eat a lot of, like rice or oats, you can stock up. Buying in bulk often reduces the price. The same method works for other types of groceries, as well, such as toilet paper and soap. However, don’t buy too much. Buy foods that you will definitely use in your meals.
8. Plan for leftovers
Instead of eating an entire pot roast for dinner in one night, divide it up. Give smaller portions of the roast the first night and use the remaining meat for soup and sandwiches over the next couple of days. You can stretch the meat further by spreading it out a bit.
9. Break out the slow cooker
A crock pot allows you to buy very cheap, tough cuts of meat and turn them into mouthwatering morsels. Just pop the meat into the slow cooker, add some vegetables and herbs, along with some liquid, and cook for 8 hours or until the meat is falling apart. As a bonus, you can use the cooking liquid to make a pasta sauce or use it as a soup base.
10. Buy generic
Often, people get suckered into buying brand name goods because of advertising and store placement. If you want to save money, however, it’s a good idea to go generic. The quality is similar in many products and the cost is much lower (you can save up to 25%). Often, generic foods taste much better than the name brands and some of them are even healthier. Read food labels and make smart food choices.
To save money on groceries during the winter season, you don’t have to make many changes. Just a few tweaks to the way you shop can change everything and save you quite a bit. The key to a successful shopping is the right planning. Never go shopping without your shopping list and when you are hungry. Otherwise, you may end up buying more than you need and spending more than you want. What are your tips to save money on groceries during the winter season?