At the Lil’ Suburban Homestead we love growing our own food right in our backyard but with both of us working full time we still buy quite a few of our groceries at the grocery store down the street. We are able to supplement a substantial part of our diet with farm fresh produce right out back especially in the warmer months in Coastal North Carolina.
We also gave up couponing a couple of years ago when we realized the couponing was steering us to mostly processed foods and we knew that in order to have good health and to continue to improve on a healthy lifestyle getting away from chemical laden and processed foods was the direction we wanted to go in!
However we have learned a few tricks that help us save money on our groceries and let’s face it they aren’t getting any less expensive, if anything prices continue to climb.
No. 1 Cut your bacon in half
I’m not joking whether you buy turkey bacon, regular bacon we noticed that when we started cutting our groceries in half that no one noticed and your waistline may thank you as well. When we shop for bacon I freeze it because I don’t know when we are going to use it. Bacon cuts very nicely in half when frozen with kitchen scissors. All you notice is that you have short pieces of bacon. This works well with a family of 4 of course this may not work so good with a family of 8 but start cutting things in half and see what happens.
The cutting in half principle also works with fruit for lunches cut your apples and bananas in half again most people just want the taste of the fruit and won’t really notice that they had less apple or banana. Again this is for most people not for 6’4” athletes like my son
No. 2 – Start adding dried milk to your baking you can use it anytime a baked good recipe calls for milk.
I use it to make banana bread and corn bread and so much more! A lot of times I mix some up in a bottle in keep it in the fridge. No one will be the wiser…seriously.
No. 3 – Start adding Fish to your family’s diet
Going totally meatless is more of a struggle for me since I eat a gluten free diet but it can be done and if you can’t go all the way meatless then try to have an inexpensive cut of fish one night a week in many places cod, tilapia, or flounder are still relatively inexpensive and don’t forget the good ol’ standby of tuna! Also there are a lot of gluten free pastas at the grocery store nowadays they are not necessarily priced low so you may have to look for deals!
No. 4 – Make the veggie the star of your meal!
I have a favorite recipe on my blog at Lil’ Suburban Homestead called Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa so the grain and the peppers are the starts and there is a little hamburger or turkey burger in the sauce to make it a hearty meal and it’s a heart healthy meal if you use a reduced fat meat and omit the cheese!
Grains really can stretch your grocery budget and using them up as leftovers and lunches will stretch your money even further at the grocery store!
No. 5 – Beans really are “Big Value” for your buck!
They are a great source of complex carbs and they are not only a great addition to every meal they also can be the centerpiece of your Meatless Monday meal!
Meatless chili and if you are concerned about dropping the additional protein of meat you can also add “TVP” or Textured Vegetable Protein. I have slipped soy based TVP into many an unsuspecting meal of course I always mixed it in half and even I could not tell the difference!
I often will make chili in the slow cooker on Friday’s in the winter and I will eat chili for lunch the following week I just pre- measure it into 1 or 2 cup containers the next week depending on everyone’s appetite. Delicious lunches make the day go so much better in my opinion.
No. 6 – Cook a turkey or whole chicken at the beginning of every week!
If you have a large family you can take off the turkey what you need for a recipe for every night of the week and you can cook the bones up for good healthful homemade broth and then you will have soup every day for lunch or at least for a couple of days that week!
Finding small ways to save on your grocery bill, eating less processed foods, and putting some change back in your pocket at the end of the week is a good thing!