Keeping the house, the kids and the hubby without breaking the bank, the earth, the people I love, or myself.

Cutting Your Family's Grocery Bill - Part 5

Yes, there are a few more things you can do.

Take advantage of rewards programs
I believe judicious application of rewards programs is the best course. With a bit of thought, you can decide if the rewards program is worth it or not. Usually incentives are introduced regularly to help you earn more rewards, however that usually means you must make certain purchases. Do not purchase items you will not use before they expire. Do not purchase items that are priced higher than elsewhere (unless the reward earned would justify the added expense). Do not purchase items you do not use. Some stores have built-in rewards that include sale prices and earned bonuses for nothing more than showing the card when you check out. I strongly advise that you apply all other principles before delving into rewards programs.

Purchase large quantities of low-priced items you regularly use
When the meats your family uses most frequently go on sale, purchase up to a 3-month supply. You will need storage for these and deep freezers are a good investment. Our family eats mostly chicken breast for meat however the price in Canada is steep. On a regular basis, chicken breast starts at $6.00 a pound. When it's available for $1.99 a pound, I purchase several month's worth and store them in my deep freezer.

Any other grocery staples that you regularly use can be purchased in large quantities to take advantage of sales. Milk can be frozen. Dry goods generally do not present a problem stored properly.

Check the unit price
If you're accustomed to buying convenience foods or convenience sizes, you'll find greater savings in purchasing family-sized items in their stead. Check the shelf tags as these will show how much you're paying per ounce, pound, or 100-grams. Quite often you're paying 100% more for a single-serve than you will for a family sized item. You can store extras in the fridge or freezer if it's more than you can use at once.

Purchase reduced items and freeze or use immediately
Fruit, vegetables, breads, and even meats are reduced for clearance near their best-by date. These dates often give some lee-way for home use and are still good even by their sell-by date. If you cannot immediately use the produce, clean, chop and freeze it. Breads and meats can go directly into the freezer.

If coupons are available for your regularly purchased items, use them! Try to combine the coupon with a sale for greater savings. Consider whether the coupon for the name-brand product will offer greater savings than the store-brand product available. I haven't found many store-brands that I didn't like and often they are a much better value than the name brand is even with a coupon. For coupons to really work for you, you need to be judicious in their use. Do not purchase items you normally wouldn't simply because you have a coupon. That is not a savings for you. Full-value coupons or free offer coupons afford you the opportunity to try out a new product without having to purchase it. When it comes to items you would not normally purchase, only use a full-value coupon.

Purchase a deep freezer
In order to stock up on sale items, you need to have the storage. Deep freezers are a very economical way to stretch your grocery dollar. They are often available in the classifieds, on kijiji or craigslist, and I've often seen them on freecycle.

In my final posting on this topic, I'll review all the tips I've posted.


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About This Blog

Saving money. Saving graces. Raising children, husbands and, sometimes, cats. Laughing. Living. Thinking. Doing. Life in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

About Me

I am a happily married woman with four children and various cats and kittens (fosters). I love to read and my favourite authors are George RR Martin, Thomas Hardy, Raymond Carver, PD James, Kurt Vonnegut, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Atwood. I know there are only three women in that list (and none of them American), so if you'd like to suggest some I'm willing to give them a shot! And yes, I am an American living in Canada. (Hence the nick -- CannedAm.) I like it here. There are things about the states that I miss, but my love is here and this country has things to offer that my own does not. Things that make my quality of life much better than it ever was in Ohio. Guess I'm stuck here. Though there's a nice spot in the Appalachian hills where I'd love to spend my retirement.

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