Spending Less Time Shopping
There is no reason that you have to go to the store every week. By careful shopping of sales, you can save money on gas in trips to the store. You can save the time you would have spent standing in line and driving to the store and back.
Can you use a couple of extra hours a week?
Try going to the store only once or twice a month, when the sales are at their lowest, and stock up then. Fill your car.
If your pantry is well-stocked, you won't run out of things.
A trip once every month or even every couple of months can fill your shelves,
if you fill your car when you go each of those times.
To get yourself in the habit of going less often, try buying 2 weeks of milk (watch the expiration dates), eggs, etc. Get some fresh fruits and vegetables for the first week, and some that will be good for both weeks--things like apples, carrots and potatoes. The second week, eat canned and frozen fruits and vegetables (along with whatever other fresh things you have left). If you have a garden, it can help fill in the gaps.
Eventually, try lengthening the amount of time between shopping trips.
What do you do when you don't have money to go to the store anymore?
Read our story: Living on Our Food Storage
Some things are the best buys at certain times of year. If you can stock up at those times, it will save you a lot of money over a long period of time.
Memorial Day and Fourth of July: Ground Beef, Chicken, Ketchup
Thanksgiving: Celery, Canned Soups, Cranberry Sauce, Turkey, Ham, Canned Vegetables, Potatoes, Evaporated Milk, Canned Pumpkin, Spices, Sugar, Flour
Christmas: Butter, Flour, Sugar, Chocolate Chips, Cream Cheese, Nuts, Ham
Make a price book. Only buy food when it is at its absolute lowest.
Shop with a calculator. The biggest isn't always the cheapest, but sometimes it is. Compare the difference.
Compare the price per pound on food. If potatoes are .20 a pound, and meat is $1.69 a pound, how much more food can you eat for less? Buy the foods that cost less per pound.
I don't buy any meat over $2.00 a pound--period. In fact, my preferred price is less than $1 a pound.
Buy turkeys and hams on sale at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter and freeze them to cook trhoughout the year. Buy a Meat Slicer so that you can cut cooked meat and slice it for sandwiches, giving you sandwich meat for less than $1 a pound.
I only buy fruit when it's on sale, and a great sale at that. Again, compare the price per pound. If peaches are .49 a pound and apples are 1.49 a pound, you'll have a lot more to eat if you buy more peaches.
When eggs are on sale, buy lots of eggs.
They are a great source of protein for very little.
They also make a few more meals possible when you are living on your food storage.
In case you're wondering . . . how long do eggs stay fresh? According to the American Egg Board:
"The oil coating which seals the shell's pores helps to prevent bacteria from entering the egg and reduces moisture loss from the egg. RAW SHELL EGGS REFRIGERATED IN THEIR CARTONS WILL KEEP FOR ABOUT 4 TO 5 WEEKS BEYOND THE PACK DATE WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT QUALITY LOSS. Properly handled and stored, eggs rarely "spoil". If you keep them long enough, they are more likely to simply dry up! But, don't leave eggs out at room temperature. They'll age more in 1 day at room temperature than they will in 1 week in the refrigerator. Room temperature is also an ideal temperature for bacterial growth."
Need to shop online for something?
If you sign up for either Ebates or Shop at Home, you'll get $5 credit for signing up, plus a percentage of your purchase back for each purchase you make. Just shop your regular stores through their link for the percentage back. Plus, they have coupon codes for many stores, which can save you even more!
Right now Ebates is offering a $10 gift card to several stores (including Target) if you sign up and make a $25 purchase within 90 days.