If you find that your grocery budget never seems to be big enough, maybe you are wasting money at the grocery store without realizing it.
1. Do You pay full price for meat? Don’t. “Meat is usually the most expensive item on your dinner plate,” d’Arabian tells Business Insider. Instead, check circulars for “loss leaders.” These are deeply discounted items and often cuts of pork, beef, and chicken will be 50 to 75 percent cheaper.
2. Do you always stick to the recipe? You don’t have to buy every item that a recipe calls for. Instead check your cupboards for ingredients you already have that you can use as a substitute. “Lemon juice is an acid, so try using another acid, such as vinegar or orange juice in its place,” d’Arabian says. “Soft leafy herbs such a cilantro, mint, basil and parsley, are often interchangeable.”
3. Freeze bread, bacon, herbs, and even tomatoes, says d’Arabian. It will save you money.
4. Do you fail to consider “inexpensive” ingredients? Look for cheaper alternatives to what your recipes asks for.
5. “Take 10 seconds to do some quick math to determine the per-pound price of a package before deciding whether to buy loose or packaged,” d’Arabian says. Potatoes and carrots, for instance, are cheaper packaged. Meanwhile, mushrooms, apples, and oranges are cheaper when bought separately.
Also, skip the big shopping cart. You’ll be more tempted to fill it up. Instead of sticking to a strict grocery list, jot down vague items like “vegetables” and then let the prices determine what type you buy. And check out the salad bar. Says d’Arabian, “The salad bar is also a great way to grab a small quantity of a high-impact ingredient (such as high-quality briny olives for a tapenade).” But make sure to keep your eye on the weight of your salad container–it can add up pretty quickly.