Let me relate one of my typical grocery shopping trips of the not-so-distant past:
We still eats the same meals, we just go about buying and preparing them in a way that maximizes every dollar we spend. Instead of buying pre-washed salad blends, we grab lettuce and spinach on sale and wash and cut them ourselves. We end up getting more salad out of the deal. Our family can usually squeeze out two dinner salads for every member of the family from a single packaged salad, while a large head of lettuce can easily provide us with four salads for each person. BIG difference when it comes to getting the best value for your dollar. Of course this implies putting in a bit more time and elbow grease when it comes to meal preparations, but the savings you'll acrrue by implementing this simple tip will definitely add up over time.
Pre-sliced veggies are EXTREMELY expensive. Let's just think about the notion of pre-sliced ANYTHING for a second, shall we? How hard is it to grab a piece of squash and slice it up yourself? My local store had yellow squash on sale a few weeks ago for 99¢ lb. I grabbed two for $1.07 and decided to go back and quickly check the price for a pound of the pre-sliced version. It was $2.99 - nearly triple the price! Are you getting the picture yet? CONVENIENCE IS COSTLY!
If you still can't see how important it is to cut out some conveniences when it comes to grocery shopping, I suggest you think about my last example - chicken. We eat a lot of chicken around here. I would purchase two skinless, boneless chicken breast packs every week and pay anywhere from $14 - $18 for both. I usually prepared them in recipes that called for serving one breast per person. Most of the time, the breasts were so large that none of us were able to finish them off, especially the kids.
Skip to the present: I now purchase the same amount of chicken, but I do so when they are on sale BOGO. I also buy the breast with skin and remove it myself. Novel thought, huh ;-) I rarely ( and I mean RARELY) spend more than $6 - $7 for the chicken I used to spend up to $18. See what buying on sale (in advance) AND eliminating unnecessary convenience did for that costly grocery expenditure in my home! I also reduced the times I serve chicken by the piece. Instead, I chop up or slice the breasts and use that as an ingredient of another meal. By doing this I'm able to get more meals out of my chicken purchases.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take the time and analyze your shopping habits. I'm certain most of us will discover at least half of our spending at the grocery store can be attributed to convenience. Hope this tip helps and encourages everyone to look for ways to eliminate some of the "convenience" shopping we are all prone to do.
Look for more money-saving grocery shopping tips every Friday on Confident Couponing.
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