Monday, May 17, 2010

Manic Monday: Cutting the Grocery Bill, the Easy Way

First of all, although I suppose this post is technically still a Manic Monday post it's late Monday. I'm setting a goal of posting these posts on Sunday nights because so far Mondays really are proving to be manic.

Okay, on to the post. If you've been following my blog for awhile you know that I have a desire to cut our grocery bill
. Back in October 2008 I wrote a post about The Grocery Game. I tried the grocery game for a few months but it just wasn't working for us. We are so brand specific that it just didn't work for us. Then in
January of this year I posted about I do still check this site but I just don't use it enough to save any significant amount of money.

Realistically, I just don't think that I'm at the point that using any of these things are going to work for us. I remembered taking a child development class years ago where the professor was talking to us about supporting the parents and helping them by giving them tips for all sorts of things, one of those things was grocery shopping. I remembered she said that if you choose to shop mostly on the outer walls of the grocery store, opposed to the aisles, you will be able to save money and eat less processed foods.

Last month I was able to cut our grocery bill back by $100 with very little effort. Here's how I did it:
  1. I looked in the Ralph's grocery ad and planned our dinners around the meat that was on sale.
  2. I bought cheaper cuts of meat instead of stocking up on chicken breasts only. Dirk isn't a fan of meat with bones or dark meat, both of which are usually cheaper. I decided to find recipes I thought he might like, using these cuts of meat and he actually ended up really liking them and was totally fine with me making them again.
  3. I shopped the outer grocery aisles and bought a lot less processed foods.
  4. If I did need to buy a perishable ingredient for a recipe (like tortillas), I tried to find several recipes that used that ingredient so it didn't go to waste.
  5. Although our meals still included a meat, starch and veggie, I kept them a little simpler. Instead of making an entire gourmet meal, which I don't really have time to do right now anyway, I would make one part of the dinner more elaborate and the rest of the dinner would be simple. For example, keeping the meat and veggie simple we had BBQ hamburgers and corn on the cob but I made homemade garlic fries using this recipe. This kept the cost lower, the prep a lot easier and the mess was almost non-existent.
I really feel like I'm finally getting the hang of grocery shopping and cooking efficiently, with little waste. It only took 3 years but at least I'm starting to get there.


  1. Nice post again! I noticed you talked about perishables like tortillas, and I recently discovered that you can freeze tortillas by placing small sheets of wax or parchment paper between each tortilla (so they don't freeze together and break off) when you get home from the store, then throw them in the freezer and you can easily pull out the number you need for each meal. I've shamefully thrown out many a stale tortilla and this tip has totally cured me of that, plus you'll always have tortillas when you need them!

  2. I too only buy skinless boneless chicken breasts. Mostly because they're easy and convenient, but also because my hubby won't eat thighs or other bone-in chicken. But you're right....they're pricey! Would you mind sharing those recipes?