1. Buy in-season fruit when it’s cheap, and freeze it for later.
“You can often find deals on in-season fruit. Buy in season, stock up, and freeze whatever you’re not going to eat. You can use the frozen fruit in homemade smoothies or juices in the coming months. Buying smoothies and juices on the go can definitely add up.”
—Heidi Swanson, blogger at 101 Cookbooks
3. Buy things like whole grains, beans, and spices from the bulk bins.
“You can find exceptionally nutritious base ingredients for not a lot of money, even at stores that are considered ‘pricey.’ For example, with a few dollars you can buy a pound of organic split peas, lentils, beans, or many whole grains, etc. When cooked, a pound of any of these is quite a lot and any one of them can act as the foundation ingredient in soups or just as a way to make a salad more substantial.”
—Heidi Swanson, blogger at 101 Cookbooks
4. And invest in a set of transparent jars or containers to store those bulk groceries.
“By using glass jars, you’re saving on packing, and they put the ingredient in front of your face, which helps to inspire and not waste!”
—Erin Alderson, blogger at Naturally Ella
5. Buy a Bluapple to make your produce last longer.
“I found this product called Bluapple, which I have become obsessed with! All you have to do is throw one in your crisper tray with the fruits or vegetables in there and they stay fresh for three times longer than without it.”
—Alison Krumbiegel, Facebook
6. Wash your berries and rinse them with white vinegar and water to make them last longer.
“Wash your berries the day you get them — it keeps them from getting moldy. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water and immerse the berries. Then remove them into a strainer and run cold water over them. Store in a Tupperware container with a paper towel at the bottom and the lid resting on top to vent the berries. I can honestly get a week out of my berries now as opposed to a day or two before.”
—Kathleen Ostby, Facebook
7. Invest in a slow cooker for easy, healthy, large-batch meals.
“On Sundays you can make a big pot of one of the thousands of healthy Crock-Pot meals, portion it out for the week, and bam! Healthy dinner solved for the week! Basically I spend $15 to $20 for five to six healthy dinners (the most expensive part is the meat, but for an all-veggie dish it’s super cheap) and about 45 minutes total prep time from start to finish. Pinterest is a great free place to get some easy, yummy, and healthy Crock-Pot recipes!”
—Danielle Canga, Facebook
11. Plan out your meals and make a grocery list before you go shopping for food.
“My grocery bill got much cheaper the moment I started to meal-plan for the following week BEFORE writing my grocery shopping list. Before I did this, I would just buy all the healthy things (blackberries, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, etc.), and when I checked out, my bill was always over $200. A lot of my food went bad. Now my bill ranges from $90 to $120.”
—Shannon Butenhoff, Facebook
12. Roast an entire chicken at the beginning of the week.
“I roast a chicken almost every Sunday for dinner. Then I take it all off the bone and have it for lunch the entire week. You can put it on salad, in a wrap, or make chicken salad. A whole roasted chicken costs about $7. The bones and skin from the chicken go into a ziplock bag in the freezer. When I have three carcasses and a gallon-size baggie of veggie cut-offs, I throw it all into a pot and make chicken stock. It’s so easy.”
—Deanna Starnes, Facebook
13. Buy bags of frozen veggies to use in your meals.
“Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, and last longer. I keep lots of them around for steaming, sauteeing and incorporating into soups and omelets.”
—Lori-Ann French Holbrook, Facebook
14. Check out the prices at your local Asian markets.
“Asian markets will have produce that is a lot cheaper than what you find in grocery stores. You might even find a few new things you’ve never tried before. I get bean sprouts for 50 cents for a big bag, and a huge bag of baby bok choi for around $2. Japanese eggplants are superior to the big English ones, don’t need to be salted to remove the bitterness, and cost usually about $1 an eggplant where I get them.”
—Renee Heitman, Facebook
15. Pack up and save all leftover fruit and veggies for another time.
“Nothing says you have to use the entire vegetable/piece of meat/cheese. Use about half of it and save the other half for something else later in the week. I cannot recount to you how many times I have needed something as simple as an onion and was saved because I only used half of it earlier in the week.”
—Corey Adkins, Facebook
17. Find ways to use old produce.
“As soon as your produce starts to go soft, throw it in the freezer. When your apples go mealy, make applesauce. When your bananas go brown, bake muffins. Spotty tomatoes can be sauced and frozen. If you have excess herbs, you can make pesto and freeze that too.”
18. Compare current prices of fresh, frozen, and canned options of the item you’re looking for.
“If fresh berries are on sale, buy those and freeze them. We also always buy fresh asparagus and freeze it for an easy meal addition. Frozen peppers, diced onions, chopped spinach, and broccoli florets are low-cost and perfect to throw into all of your meals. Also, whole carrots (baby carrots spoil faster) and frozen whole edamame with a little garlic and olive oil make a perfect snack-pack combo! It’s also great to have canned black beans, corn, tomatoes, and green beans on hand.”
—Amanda Kruse, Facebook
23. Try buying your groceries online.
“Online grocery shopping has been great for me. Not only is the delivery fee very affordable ($3 for a four-hour delivery window from Walmart) but it helps me avoid impulse buying. I can follow my list without distraction, and then go back and actually look through the cart with no outside stress to think, Hmm… Do I really need this?”
25. See if you have a produce distributor that sells to the public at wholesale prices.
“We have one: Bonanza Produce. It’s a lifesaver and it’s where we do all of our shopping. It’s fresh and I get more than I get at the grocery stores for far less. We get all of our meats, fruits, and veggies for so cheap. At the grocery store we spend over $150 a week. At Bonanza we spend $40 to $60.”
26. But don’t buy in bulk from wholesale outlets unless you know you’ll use all of it.
“I used to shop at Costco weekly. My grocery bills were at minimum $200 to $250 per week, and lots of food would go to waste. Now we shop at the 99-cent store or grocery outlet and spend about $75 to $100 with a lot less waste.”
28. Buy on-sale meat just before the expiration date — then rewrap it and freeze it.
“Oftentimes, meat that is set to expire in the next one to two days will be marked down considerably. Buy it, take it home, remove it from its original packaging, wrap it in Saran Wrap, and then put it into a Ziploc freezer bag. Be sure to date it before putting it in your freezer. I spend VERY little on meat this way and always have lots in the freezer.”
—Samantha Elizabeth, Facebook
29. Download an app to help you find coupons and rebates.
“The Ibotta app is a good way to get rebates on your grocery purchases, and a lot of times they have options to get money back on stuff that’s not name-brand, like produce, eggs, and milk. They also have a rebate in there for a discount on the protein powder I like to use.”
—Becky Martin, Facebook
“My favorite coupon app is Checkout 51. You take pictures of your receipts, get cash back for certain products, and once you hit $20, they send you a check in the mail! I go on before I go shopping and add in a couple things to my grocery list that are on Checkout 51 that week.”
30. Or an app that helps you find the best prices across different groceries.
“The Flipp app is really good for looking at flyers around your area. You can search for specific groceries you’re looking for and they’ll show you all the flyers that the item appears in so you can compare prices at different stores. You can also save all those items to one list to help you gauge what you’re going to get so you don’t ~accidentally~ spend more than you meant to.”
Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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