My Top 30 Ways for Saving Money on Food Costs

Thank you to my newest followers, Linnea, a talented photoblogger, Alexie who is a young blogger
and my Russian reader though I don't know your name.  Welcome to all.

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I mentioned in my post here, that I would begin a series on the steps I've been taking to save money. I'm not a financial expert or an advisor of any kind. I'm just a woman trying to be a good steward and use her money wisely so I can bless others as God has blessed me.

I will be presenting my strategies in different areas of expenditure starting with my strategies for saving on food costs.  Just this week, I read that the world's food costs are rising. Some countries have it worse than others. We in North America are still blessed that food costs do not yet eat up the entire monthly income.  Even so, our other costs of living are very high.  Saving on food costs is a great way to try and stretch the dollar.

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  1. At home, I make my own coffee and never pay more than $10. for 975 grams of coffee. Folgers or Maxwell House blends are usually the ones on sale. In the past,  I bought the higher priced coffee and ground it myself because I can tell the difference between gourmet and regular coffee. What I have found though, is if you get just the right balance of regular coffee grounds and water and you drink the coffee hot and fresh, you can still get a good cup from Folgers or Maxwell House. I also don't drink as much coffee now so the taste differential is not so important.
  2. I make my own muffins with lots of strawberries or blueberries. Buying store bought muffins is way too expensive and they are way too greasy.
  3. I buy fresh berries and wash and freeze them for later use. Alternatively, I buy gourmet frozen berries when they on are on sale for at least $3.00 off per bag. These berries are good for making muffins and  smoothies.
  4. I bake my own bread on a regular basis, both oven bread and machine bread.
  5. I do buy bread from time to time. Sometimes I buy artisan breads but only when it is 50%. I can find marked down bread regularly at my local supermarket and it is fresh enough to use if you eat it within a day or two. I also buy sprouted grain bread on occasion when it is $2.00 or $3.00 a loaf. I freeze it for later use so I only buy 2 loaves at a time if there is room in the freezer.
  6. I make a lot of my own treats like cookies and cinnamon rolls. More recently I've learned to make pizza dough and pie dough. Even though I don't make pizza or pie very often, I'm glad I can for those occasions when I want.

  7. I buy popcorn kernels for those rare occasions I want to have popcorn. I don't buy the gourmet popcorn or microwave bags of popcorn because of the additives. I just buy regular kernels and pop them the old fashioned way in a pot on the stove top.  I can also use my air popper which has the added advantage of not needing any oil though I do add salt to taste.
  8. I buy my own extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and mix it for dipping artisan bread. Paired with a nice entree like baked salmon and salad, this is positively delicious and a fraction of the cost at a higher end restaurant.
  9. I've learned to make some fabulous yet simple salads so I don't have to eat them at a restaurant, especially since I seldom go to restaurants now.  Here is my cantaloupe and shrimp salad.


  10. I've learned to make hummus, salsa and guacamole. This is good for those times when you want a healthy snack with pita bread or nachos. I sometimes make nachos for dinner when I feel like a splurge. I use olives, onions, tomatoes, cooked ground burger and lots of cheese. This is spread over the nacho chips and baked in the oven until the cheese is nicely melted.
  11. I buy bulk spices like peppercorns. garam masala and other spices to make my own curry seasonings, etc
  12. I purchase bulk legumes (kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans) and soak and cook them ahead of time when I know I want to use some beans. This is much cheaper than buying canned beans and is salt free or at least if you add salt you know what you've added and how much.
  13. I do buy certain canned goods if they are in bulk packs, like baked beans, mushroom bits or tomatoes.

  14. I make food ahead where possible. I have limits on what I can make ahead due to lack of freezer storage.
  15. I use all my leftovers and seldom throw anything out. I sometimes make a new dish out of leftovers but I don't scour cookbooks to get ideas. I'm quite content to simply warm them up and eat.
  16. I use all my vegetables before they go bad. I used to waste so much produce because I was never home to cook them and I'd overestimate what I needed.  Nowadays any wasting vegetables will go into the soup pot or juicer.
  17. I purchase large packages of meat and fowl, sometimes big slabs of meat that can be cut up and repackaged in the right portions.  Yesterday I purchased a side of center pork loin for just under $31.00.  My educated guess is that I saved approximately the same amount of money I spent by buying this large piece of meat and cutting it up myself.


  18. I do not buy organic produce unless it is leafy, like swiss chard or kale.
  19. I buy vegetables in bulk and prepare and clean them myself.  I also freeze some for soups.  This makes a considerable savings and takes only a little time to clean and prepare them. All the scraps can be placed in your kitchen compost bin and added to your outdoor compost as needed.
  20. If there are luxury food items I want like specialty teas, I will purchase several when they are on sale. This way I don't feel deprived and I won't need to buy any again for a very long time. For example, last week I bought three boxes of specialty tea. The regular price was $4.98 and I think one for $4.59. I got each box for $3.49. I had a savings of just over $4.00 overall. Even one box of these specialty teas cost me less than one fancy tea in the tea shop and I can enjoy tea for weeks and weeks.


  21. I buy 20 kg. of brown rice at a time (we don't use white rice) and it lasts for quite awhile before I have to buy more.  I don't buy it in larger quantities because it would likely go rancid on me and I don't have enough space in the freezer to store it.
  22. I only purchase smaller packages of meat when they are on sale so I watch the flyers for my local supermarkets.  One of them usually has a sale on something we can use for the week.
  23. I purchase as many food items on sale as possible.  When there is a sale, I might buy 2 or more items at the same time depending on the item. This means I may have to forgo buying something else so I don't automatically purchase more of an item just because is on sale.
  24. I make a lot of soups and stews with less expensive meat and fowl (hamburger, turkey and sometimes chicken). This stretches my meat and fowl provisions and also helps me cut back on the amount of meat and fowl I eat.
  25. For an inexpensive yet tasty meal that is quick to throw together  I will make a bag of Japanese noodle soup to which I add chopped onions, chopped broccoli and perhaps some zucchini. Sometimes I add a few frozen shrimp or a half can of tuna.
  26. Seafood is very expensive where I live.  I have found a place where I can purchase a bag of large, good quality shrimp, for under $5.00. I use these in the soups mentioned above, in a stir fry and in salads.
  27. I purchase spices in bulk and refill my spice containers as needed.
  28. I purchase nuts in bulk for snacks and for baking.
  29. I always buy my eggs at the pharmacy where they are almost half the price of the grocery story.
  30. I very seldom buy juice or soda. This is largely due to my diabetes so I try to eat fruit or make my own juice. If I buy a juice or soda drink it must be on sale and I will not drink the diet stuff. The diet stuff is junk and harmful to my body. If I'm going to have a soda it might as well be the real thing.  It has taken me awhile to get to the point of really limiting the soda intake. Now it isn't a problem.

    These two cards of 25 stamps each now entitle me to a $25. gift card which I can use to buy anything in the supermarket, whether it be food or household items, on sale or regular price.  I don't always get to benefit from these kinds of promotions since you have to spend a certain amount of money to get a stamp.  I will not spend for the sake of getting a stamp but if I need to buy something or stock up on something, I will gladly spend it.   This month's shopping has been more expensive than usual as I've had to replenish some things that run out every few months like: olive oil, a large bag of flour, baking powder and baking soda, various bags for wrapping food, large bags of rice and pasta and specialty teas.  I was able to benefit on this promotion since I filled two cards and now I will get $25 instead of  $10 for one card.  It will help with the next grocery bill.

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    Well there you have it. My list of top 30 strategies for saving money on my food costs. If you have more ideas to add to this list, please share them!

    Come back again soon for more of my top strategies for saving money and stretching my penny until it snaps :-)

23 comments:

  1. Excellent advice. I use many of the the same principles and am fortunate to have a meyer lemon tree for great salad dressings.

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  2. Thank you for your visit and comment. How great you have a lemon tree. I wish I did since I love lemons. It's wonderful to hear that you've already established these principles. I was late starting with them and I wish I had started a lot sooner so I'm an example of it's never too late ;-) (Sorry my number 18 was somehow missing, so I've since corrected that).

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  3. Really good advice - I do a lot of these things as well, getting in the habit of bread making right now

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  4. Great suggestions. I already do quite a few things that you do. One big saver is that we barely ever go out to eat. I can spend waaaay less and have as good or better food at home!

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  5. Great ideas! I also do many of these things. I also haunted the "nearly dead" fruit and vegetable cart in the produce department for fruits and vegetables I can use for soup and breads. At our local coop I will get a back of tomatoes(20lbs)for $2.99 which I blanch and freeze for soup/spagetti sauce etc. I am not sure where you are in Canada and how mobile you are but berry picking can be a wonderful way to be active outdoors and get fresh fruit inexpensively.
    Keep up the good work and thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Smiles

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  6. I enjoyed reading your food buying tips. Food prices are rising significantly right now.

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  7. Thank you Professor's Wife. As I'm a bit of a late bloomer where saving money is concerned, and cooking for that matter, I've learned that learning new habits is really the key. Your habit sounds like a good one :-)

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  8. Candy, not eating out can save a ton of money. I know because that's where virtually all my disposable income used to go! I bet you're a great cook with all those cali influences.

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  9. Carolyn, wonderful ideas you've added here. I don't have a car so the option of picking my own berries is out of the question. However I'm sure there are many others reading here that will be able to take advantage of this wonderful idea. I'm happy you reminded me about the "almost dead" bags of veggies. I actually have two places here close by that sell them but one of them (farther away) does a great job of selling them before they start rotting. They even peel clean and sometimes chop them up and this is fantastic because most of the work is already done! Sounds like you've got some great ways to save money. Keep up the good work.

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  10. EG Wow, thank you for the visit and the new follow. Food prices are indeed high right now and going higher. I'm so glad I've developed some good habits for savings and I'll work even harder to make them save ;-)

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  11. I enjoyed reading your tips and use almost all of them. The key is being willing to cook, simply and healthfully. Isn't it great that it is cheaper, too?

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  12. Sara, you are so right. The key for me was learning new habits, including being willing to cook and try some experimentation :-) It is indeed great that we can also save money doing it.

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  13. Wonderful helpful post , thanks so much for sharing !
    Blessings,
    ~Myrna

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  14. Thank you for your visit Myrna and thanks for your kind comments :-)

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  15. I agree with the first poster and you..in that I like to make lots of my own stuff. I've found the better the quality of coffee the better the cup only because I grind or buy it ground for espresso (so essentually, that means I scrimp on other stuff)(lol). We have a duel for reg. coffe, but my husband blew out a piece of the housing with his air compressor trying to get out some small roaches which decided to make a home in it (my insistance)-smile)). The chameleons have taken care of the big ones and our cat is bringing down their population a little? Anyhow, it's reletively new but the espresso works well and we discovered it saves you more than half! I'm lazy,(it's a single)..so, I would often take the easy way. It's very expensive here and now we rank number one in the U.S. as far as gas..everything gets shipped in and we're just watching the whole situation come down? So far, it's more than worth it to drive the 100 miles to the other side of the island and shop at Costco periodically. We get a case of rice dream for example..butter, and like you say the meat. I love that place. We really don't have much of a selection here anyway. My husband is working on a mini van he picked up for me which is going to be a savings on gas and much more roomy for our dog. Well, guess we do what we can do and have to learn to make sacrifices and adjustments along the way. Well, the weekend is around the corner and Spring is here..have a good day-

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  16. tout cela donne envie , hummmm


    Publicity ;o) Every Friday (and the Weekend), The Challenge "Walk In The Street Photography"

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  17. Thanks so much for all this information and good advice. We never eat out any more it seems and with my hubby being such a great cook it is no loss at all. I don't drink sodas either and have managed to eliminate all goodies, except some occasional ice cream and cookies from my diet for the same reason. I guess that saves some money too. I see you have River Town on your list of good reads - may I recommend Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones as well. It is fabulous. I love Frank McCourt's memoir trilogy as well.--Inger

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  18. KP, it sounds ilke you've found ways that work for you in Hawaii. I do remember when I was there how expensive it was for food of course because virtually everything has to be flown in from elsewhere. I imagine having a garden at your home is a way that many people try to cut costs down. I haven't invested in an espresso machine yet but I do think of it from time to time ;-) Sometimes I think I will just stop drinking coffee altogether so that slows me down from investing in a machine.

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  19. CG, I envy you having a husband who cooks! lol. I do thank you for the recommended reading. I will certainly add it to my lists as I'm always looking for good books to read.

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  20. CG, I envy you having a husband who cooks! lol. I do thank you for the recommended reading. I will certainly add it to my lists as I'm always looking for good books to read.

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  21. Thanks so much for all this information and good advice. We never eat out any more it seems and with my hubby being such a great cook it is no loss at all. I don't drink sodas either and have managed to eliminate all goodies, except some occasional ice cream and cookies from my diet for the same reason. I guess that saves some money too. I see you have River Town on your list of good reads - may I recommend Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones as well. It is fabulous. I love Frank McCourt's memoir trilogy as well.--Inger

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  22. Thank you Professor's Wife. As I'm a bit of a late bloomer where saving money is concerned, and cooking for that matter, I've learned that learning new habits is really the key. Your habit sounds like a good one :-)

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