Shoppers can utilise a lot of strategy and psychology to effectively use coupons and find deals at the supermarket, but the core of saving good money on groceries lies in learning to cook with cheap, fresh core ingredients.
Photo by Muffet.
Reviewing the book Better Groceries for Less Cash, Trent at The Simple Dollar personal finance blog extracts a few tips from the full tome, including two final thoughts that go well together:
Focus on core ingredients If you know how to make a lot of meals with a few core ingredients (like tomatoes, for example, or flour), then you can always buy those and always turn them into something delicious. You can also cross-match them with whatever's on sale to make unique meals for the week. For us, core ingredients include chicken, broccoli, cheese, rice, tomatoes, apples, and spinach.
Cheapest is often best when it comes to produce Why? Because the cheap items are the ones that lots of people buy. Thus, the stock of that item has to rotate more frequently, which means you're likely to get the freshest produce by buying the cheapest stuff. Sweet corn in August comes to mind here, as it gets heavily rotated and it's very cheap around here.
In other words, if you're a pasta pro, find a cheap, regularly replenished source for tomatoes, garlic, onions and pasta (the markets, perhaps?), and learn to make variations on your specialties for yourself and your other eaters. The same applies to barbecue fiends, salad makers and especially multi-meal recipes.
What's in your repertoire of inexpensive meals you can make with whatever's cheap at the store? What foods have you found the cheapest source for? Show us what's in your cart in the comments.
Review: Better Groceries for Less Cash [The Simple Dollar]