If you are like our family, you are considering lots of ways to “tighten your belt” and save wherever you can. Some things seem might like too much of a sacrifice and other suggestions seem impractical for your lifestyle and your busy schedule. It might sound a bit silly but we have found that the environmentalist slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” can be a helpful tool in saving money on the grocery bill as well.
Take a minute to think of the things you purchase at the store on a regular basis. Then consider how you can reduce and buy less of this item or stop purchasing it altogether. For example, my husband likes a certain specialty snack. It isn’t something we purchased every week, but on occasion, we would spend $10-20 to stock up the fridge. When we thought about our budget and what we can and cannot afford anymore, that was one thing that we found was relatively easy to cut out. What can you skip? Do you really need to drink that much soda or other sugary drinks? Are energy drinks something you can avoid? How about snacks? What can you comfortably reduce (or cut altogether) to save on your weekly bill?
It is also easier to reduce when you are not hungry when you go to the store. And if you can’t go to the store alone, make sure your spouse or your kids are on the same page as you – have a common goal to figure out together how you can reduce the purchase of expensive, un-needed items.
Try it for a month and see how you feel. Do you really miss the items? If you do you might want to consider cutting out in different areas- but my guess- you won’t miss it at all, we don’t.
RECYCLE – Why not recycle your food? Ok- this might be a bit of a stretch but seriously, how much food do you toss out because you forgot you put it in your refrigerator? Get organized or develop a system to remember what is in there. We recently were able to replace our very ancient fridge with a nice side by side. I was amazed how much better I was a using the food in there- because I could actually see my food. In the regular refrigerator with the freezer on top the food just seemed to get piled in- then lost in the back. Only to be found way after it’s expiration- scary!!
If you go out to eat, try to plan it so you can take the leftovers home and eat for lunch the next day. There are tons of recipes online that can help you make tasty meals out of what you have leftover in the fridge.
But probably the easiest way to save money by recycling is actually to earn money by really recycling. We sort out glass, cash-redemption plastic, and cans in our garage. A lot of our friends and family members want to recycle but don’t know how to do it conveniently in their area or just don’t want to spend the time. They know that we recycle on a regular basis, so almost every time we get together, they hand us a grocery bag full of soda cans or beer bottles or other stuff to recycle. They want to do the right thing for the environment, and they are happy to let someone else get the money as long as their stuff is getting taken care of. We earn an additional $20-$30 a month by just volunteering to clean up at parties and at work.
With fuel getting more expensive, food staples will continue to rise in price. Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle is an easy slogan to remember and will save you money on your grocery bills.RE-USE –A lot of what we spend each week goes into convenience and packaging. Lunch and snacks are packaged into convenient single-use servings.You can save by re-using washable plastic containers for these types of purchases. Here are a few examples: Pudding is a yummy snack and the single-use containers sure make it convenient. However, a 4-pack of pudding costs around $2.50, and a box of pudding is usually $.99 or less on sale. Pudding is really easy to make. You just mix the box of pudding stuff with two cups of milk and put it in the fridge to set. Even if your kids lose the plastic containers now and then, you are still spending half as much.
Or take the lunch-snack packs – these are sure convenient, but you can save a lot by buying a box of store-brand crackers, and whatever lunch meat and cheese is on sale that week. How long does it take to grab a few crackers and meat and cheese slices and toss them in a baggie?
Buying in bulk and skipping the packaging expense is a way to re-use and save money on your grocery bill.
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