It’s Thrifty Living time again. This week we’re discussing saving money on groceries. I don’t know about you but I’ve often checked out at the supermarket and been totally shocked by the amount of money due. It adds up so quickly.
There are two of us here. And two dogs. The dogs are on prescription diets and that food is expensive. Nothing we can do about that. (I consider dog food part of our grocery list and these dogs apparently like the expensive stuff!)
I’m a vegetarian. Don eats a basically vegetarian diet. We don’t buy meat and that is a savings. We try to eat very healthily. Surprisingly, eating healthy foods, especially organic foods, can be very expensive. Don’t get me going on that one. It simply amazes me that eating food that is free of pesticides is more expensive. Go figure. So, while I try to buy organic when I can, when money is tight I will often go for regular produce. But, on the whole, we try to avoid processed foods. We eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, rice and soy products.
Our grocery buying is not done in one store. We use our local supermarket, our health food store and Trader Joe’s – as well as our local farm stands in the summer. In the supermarket, I will often buy their brand of various items because they are less expensive. They have a pretty good health/organic food section, as well. I find the prices of a the supermarket just down the road to be better than those of a major supermarket chain in the neighboring college town which is about 9 miles away. So, besides being closer (thus saving gas) our local market saves us money at the cash register.
Every two or three weeks we go to Trader Joe’s, which is an hour away from us. I know that many of you do not have a TJ’s nearby. I hope you get one someday. Their selection is amazing and the prices are significantly lower than anywhere else. We are able to get an amazing amount of healthy food for half again as much as we would pay anywhere else. (Plus, they have fabulous fresh flowers!)
Certain food items are purchased at the health food store. Fortunately, our local store has an ongoing program that keeps a running tally of the amount of money spent by each customer (we all have account numbers) and when we reach a certain amount – say $200.00 – we get $25.00 off on our next purchase. Money saved.
In the summer we try to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at local farm stands. We have a lot of farms in our area. We support our local farmers and also know that the food we are buying is fresh and healthy. And cheaper, since it’s grown locally and we don’t have to pay for packaging and transportation costs.
I try to buy everything I need at once, because I know that quick trips to the store add up. Sometimes, though, we need something that we don’t have on hand and off to the market we go.
I must admit I am not a coupon person. I’d like to be, but I always forget to use them. And most of the coupons I see are for items I’m not interested in purchasing. But if you are a coupon user, more power to you!
I also don’t buy in bulk from Costco or BJ’s or any of those wholesale clubs. We have limited storage space here at the cottage. I’ve learned that I usually don’t have enough space to store those things and I end up losing money.
We eat at home 99% of the time. Cooking at home is cheaper. Eating out is expensive.
This spring will be the first spring in over four years that I haven’t been far away from my home working on a coaching job. I do have a job in CT, but I will be able to come home for a couple of days each week. I plan on putting in a vegetable garden. Just a starter garden, but my hope is to have some fresh vegetables grown here at MHC that we can use daily. That will also be a money saver!
Share your tips with us!