I hope you got a great basic understanding of Meal Planning from my 101 post yesterday! Now, it’s time to dive into the specifics of saving effort, planning everything out, and how save on groceries without coupons.
If you have the time and patience to coupon, more power to you! I used to do the coupon game and spend hours doing so. However, time has grown more precious recently, my condo is closing in on me (I’m tired of no space to store all the coupons!), and my printer is on the fritz. All these factors lead to me growing tired of the coupon game. It’s all about finding a system that works for YOU!
Now, instead of spending $40 per week at the grocery store with coupons and eating “healthy” but not whole foods, I spend $50-$60 per week. I also eat healthier, whole foods (Clean Eating) from the perimeter of the store and make it a point to become laser focused on creating my meal plan around sales items.
What are the best ways to save money at the store without coupons?
Anytime you have a plan in place, you save money. When you stick to a list, it’s simple, you don’t make impulse buys and your budget stays in control. When I make my meal plan or when you use an eMeals grocery store centered plan, it should be based around the store’s sales for the week. Sit down with your store’s ad and circle the items you think you can use that week in a meal plan. I call this the Circle Principle! (I had many people at a recent meal planning seminar I taught tell me that once I actually made them do this as a group activity, it was much easier than they initially thought it would be.) YOU CAN DO THIS!
For instance, if you see ground beef, spaghetti noodles, and parmesan cheese on sale you can make spaghetti as a nice frugal meal that week. Try to avoid buying broccoli every week just because you always do. Get a variety in your fruits and veggies by choosing to buy what’s on sale that week. Not only will you diversify the vitamins and minerals you’re getting, but you’ll save money and get more variety in your diet as well!
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Think about all the ways you can cut corners to save money. When a recipe calls for fresh herbs, don’t drop $3-$4 on a bag of them when you only need a bit, get dried herbs instead. Buy store brand when possible to shave off costs on your grocery bill.
Also, in the name of simplification….don’t make a meal of Shallot Glazed Pork Hock with Figs and Honey. It sounds complicated and pricey so it probably is. My general rule of thumb is to try to create recipes (or find them on my Pinterest boards!) that have 7 ingredients or less. I have to buy less and it usually takes a shorter amount of time to cook.
Utilize ingredients for multiple meals to use them all up. If you love cilantro and plan to buy 1 bunch of it for Cilantro shrimp, use up the rest of it in your salads that week or make a side dish like this awesome Cilantro Lime Rice to help you avoid waste.
Buy items at stock up price. The more familiar you become with your grocery store’s sales and sale rotations, the better you will get at knowing when to load up. For instance, black beans were on sale this week at Publix at a stock up price, so I bought 3-4 cans so that I can utilize them next time I need them for black bean soup. Instead of buying them at full price for that recipe I make all the time, I got them at almost half off!
If you want a good deal on meats, sign up for Zaycon Foods! This is a bulk meat purchasing site. They usually deliver the meat to a church in my local area on a date and I go pick it up. I have gotten the chicken before and have been quite impressed. The minimum order is 40 lbs so I usually split it with a friend but it’s only around $1.50/lb! At that price, it’s well worth it to stock up and freeze to use over the coming months.
Shop at a discount store! Normally I go to Aldi or Walmart first to get ingredients that aren’t on sale at Publix to fill out my recipes or other needs. You can see why I’m newly obsessed with Aldi here.
When you’re really in a budget crunch, stick to the basics. People joke around about a rice and beans diet, but seriously think about how many people you can feed with a bag of dried beans! You can make a black bean soup to feed 15 people on cents per person! It’s also a great calorie and cost effective plan to make a meatless meal once per week.
Come back tomorrow for a full recap on how I meal plan each week and my list of go-to meals when the store isn’t having great sales.
Free Pantry Staples List
Get the FREE Clean Eating Pantry Staples Printable List plus healthy living lifestyle tips from MyLifeWellLoved.com!