You’re paying too much for food! Groceries shouldn’t have to blow your budget, and if they do, you’re not shopping correctly. Here are a few ways to save money when you’re food shopping that will change your life (unless you’re brilliant enough to be doing them already).
1. Don’t use disposable plates or silverware. Paper plates and plastic forks are fine if you’re having a huge barbecue with your entire extended family, but using them everyday is literally throwing money away (and harming the environment). Get one decent set of dinnerware and clean your damn utensils.
2. Buy non-perishables bulk. Groceries like cereal, garbage bags, toothpaste, napkins, dish soap—if something that won’t go bad within a year is on sale for a great price, get a ton of it.
3. For the love of God, use coupons. Stores often time their sales to coincide with manufacturer coupons, especially for toiletries (keep an eye out for the P&G Brandsaver in your newspaper). It can make things like disposable razors go from $25 to $8. Stop throwing money away because you’re too lazy to find scissors.
4. Reuse food containers. Don’t toss those takeout containers! I have so many wonton soup containers, and they’re perfect for cookies. If you’re extra thrifty, you can also wash and reuse plastic baggies and foil.
5. Plan your meals ahead, and don’t shop hungry. Make a meal plan for the week before you shop, and have an apple or something filling before you go. It’ll prevent you from getting 22 varieties of Pop-Tarts that you may not even like (not that I’d know from experience or anything) and also save you time during the week deciding what or where to eat.
6. Buy store brands. For cereal, canned vegetables, and basics (think rice, beans, flour, sugar, dairy), you will not be able to tell the difference in flavor or quality between name and store brands. Same goes for certain toiletries (mouthwash) and household items (dishwashing liquid). They’re often manufactured and packaged in the same place a name brand items! Why are you throwing your money away?
7. Eat your leftovers. Bring them to lunch the next day or freeze them for a week you know you’ll be too busy to cook.