Son of Grok

Reducing The Grocery Bill

January 27th, 2009
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I am Rich!

I know that there have been a bajillion “Eat on a budget” posts around the blogosphere over the past couple months. I figured that instead of regurgitating the same old advice, I would sit down and think about how I personally would actually save money on the grocery bill if I had to.

Here is what I came up with:

1. Drop the booze.Booze is a wholly unnecessary evil in the grocery budget. While a glass of red-wine here and there is great for anti-oxidants, you really don’t need it to survive. Booze adds up to a lot of money when you look at it.

2. Cut back on the fancy coffee.I buy fancy organic coffee and espresso. Fact of the matter though is that there is free coffee at my workplace. It may not be the best or most flavorful but it does the job. I could easily cut back on buying expensive coffee from the grocery store in a pinch.

3. Cut back on expensive meat cuts and increase eggs and less expensive meats.You really don’t need a freezer full of porterhouse steaks to eat primally. Pick up several pounds of ground meat (be wary the trans fatty ones). Eggs are also a great, inexpensive, healthy protein and fat option. Also, bone-in full skin poultry is pretty cheap! Ditch the expensive boneless skinless chicken breast and buy a whole chicken. Not only will you be getting more nutrition from it but you will be saving yourself a ton of cash. I actually recently stopped buying canned tuna which is getting awfully expensive($1.99 per can for real tuna in water – Most canned tuna is in vegetable broth with soy) and started buying extra eggs instead to save on some grocery cash.

4. Save money on your produce.Buy the produce that is in season. Grok only had what was in season available to him anyways. You really don’t need 6 different veggies in every meal (although it is delicious). Focus on one veggie one week and another the next. Certain veggies are almost always a steal too… like a good head of romaine lettuce. You can fulfill your veggie needs inexpensively.

5. Shop the sales. You can almost always find one vegetable, fruit or nut that is on sale for a great deal. Stock up on that one! For example, almonds are on sale at my local grocer for $3.99 per pound. This is a heck of a lot cheaper than the other nuts at about $7 per pound so right now I am focusing on almonds for my nut consumption. When they go back up, I will switch to another nut that is a better deal. If I was limiting myself to say… walnuts, I would be missing out on $4 per pound!

6. Buy in bulk where possible.If you have the freezer space, buy a 1/4 of a cow… it will save you a ton in the long run. Ground meat is also usually significantly cheaper if you buy it in bulk. Other bulk deals to lookout for are nuts, fruits (the pre bagged apples and oranges and grapefruit… etc), almond flour etc.

7. Do it yourself.Many of the foods that you may be buying pre-made can be made from scratch simply and easily at home. They are often more nutritious this way too. For example, I have started making my own mayonnaise… this is saving me a ton of money. My homemade mayonnaise is also WAY healthier than the store bought which is made from soy oil and some chemicals and bleh. Some other do it yourself items that are easy and will save you cash… salsa, guacamole, jerky, salad dressing etc.

8. DON’T save on the grocery bill.That’s right, I said don’t save or skimp on the grocery bill. What could possibly be more important to your health and well being than eating well? Look first at other areas in your life that you can save… movies (a movie ticket is worth like 5 pounds of ground beef), premium television, nights out at the club wherever. Prioritize what is most important to you and if it is your health, then start saving in some of the areas towards the bottom of the priority list before your start diving into the grocery budget.

Anyways, I hope this has implanted some ideas in your head and got the gears turning. I also hope that this is a little more involved and personal than some of the other “budget eating” posts you have read.

What are some other ways that you save dough on the grocery bill?

19 Responses to “Reducing The Grocery Bill”

  1. Elizabeth

    Know what stores have what cheaper. I do 90% of my shopping at Whole Foods because the quality is so much better than anywhere else and it’s within walking distance of my apartment. But that other 10% I save a lot with. For instance, WF has bags of almond flour for $10. Trader Joe’s, however, has bags the same size for $3.50. I have a list of stuff that’s much cheaper at Trader Joe’s and I go there once every 1-2 months to stock up on their cheap stuff. I go to the regular grocery store for brand name stuff that is also sold at WF, but is cheaper at the regular store. Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes don’t care whether you’ve bought them from WF or from Safeway, they’re still the same tomatoes.

  2. Elizabeth

    Overall though, I agree the most with #8! My husband and I decided food is very important to us and therefore we don’t budget groceries. We buy what we need and want and what is good for us and if need be we can cut back on other things.

  3. Son of Grok

    Elizabeth,
    I do the same. I shop most produce and nuts and stuff at my local market Sunflower (Whole foods type but way better prices) but get my meats at Kellers (a local butcher and farm store)and some items at Smiths (Kroger grocery store)because they are cheaper but the same product. It doesnt hurt to do a little travelling around to save some dough! Good point.

  4. TrailGrrl

    Ethnic grocery stores sometimes are a lot cheaper. And they have those wacky cheap cuts of meat, even the chicken feet. Mexican grocery stores are always cheaper on their produce, but the selection isn’t huge. But if you’re an avocado fan like me… well, it’s worth it then.

    TG

  5. Rachel

    Frozen fruit and veggies! Picked at the height of season and preserved, and you’re less likely to have them go bad on you before you have used them. Not to mention they make very easy additions to other recipes because they’re so easy to prepare.

  6. Son of Grok

    Trailgrrl,
    Very good points! The ethnic markets are also a place to get some really cool stuff you may have never thought of. I was recently told one of our local Carnecerias (Mexican meat store) was having a special on ground beef for 99 cents per pound! And avacados for 50 cents.

    Rachel,
    I can’t believe I forget about the frozen goods. I often buy big bags of frozen blueberries and strawberries to have on hand! Great point.

  7. Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit

    Although I’ve written a few articles on how to cut back on the shopping trip, I haven’t really done so myself. I would rather cut back other places and be happy with eating what I know is good for me. So I’m with you on number 8 SoG!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

  8. Son of Grok

    Andrew,
    I totally agree. Eating is getting rather expensive though lol.

  9. TrailGrrl

    Does anyone have any experience buying 1/4 cow? It would be around $2.19/lb… $400.

    TG

  10. Son of Grok

    Trailgrrl,
    I buy local grassfed 1/4 which is actually about $4.50 per pound (expensive but worth it IMO and I support local agra). My last quarter was actually quite small at 123#’s… they usually weigh more.

  11. chris

    I’m a fan of the grassfed beef as well. In addition to the health and environmental benefits (which are well outlined elsewhere) I think it just tastes better.

    The flavor is a little more “gamey” and takes a little getting used to, but it grows on you quickly. I had a few weeks between running out of the 1/2 cow in my freezer and waiting for another one to be ready and discovered that grocery store beef tasted flavorless and bland now.

    As an aside, SOG is probably right with the weight. The $2.19/lb is probably the hanging, pre-processing price. I paid $3lb on the rail, and find it comes to about $4.50-5/lb after cutting depending on the specifics (i.e. how much you have ground for burger, etc..)

  12. Dr Dan

    Good advice. I seemed to check each point so we obviously follow the same budgeting tips.

  13. Chris - ZTF

    I find keeping a huge bag of frozen spinach knocking about saves me loads of money. I can use it with omelets in the morning or make a big batch with olive oil and garlic to have beside my meat for lunch or dinner. Also if you make a big batch it serves as a paleo base to dishes which normally require rice (chilli, curry etc) as it lays a nice bed for the main meal……

    Getting what’s on sale is also a great thing to do, it makes all the difference!

  14. Dynamic Stage of Weight Loss « At Darwin’s Table

    [...] its the same old stuff but Im trying to live cheap. Which reminds me read this post from the Son of Grok on ways to eat cheap on Paleo if you havn’t [...]

  15. Son of Grok

    Dr. Dan,
    Gald we are on the same page here!

    Chris,
    That is not a bad idea. I prefer fresh spinach but I think I might follow suit here.

  16. nonegiven

    You can usually get a bag of chicken leg quarters cheaper per pound than whole chickens.

  17. Drew Baye

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention growing your own! While this may not be practical for everybody, we always had a garden growing up, and had tomatoes, green beans, peas, pumpkins, squash, carrots, etc. I currently live in FL, and we have an orange tree in our back yard, and my in-laws have avocado and orange trees in theirs.

    You could trap or kill your own too, depending on where you live and what the laws are.

    I would go further on your first point and recommend dropping all alcohol consumption. The amount of money a person can waste on alcohol during a typical weekend could buy a lot of quality food.

    I also agree with the recommendations for ethic grocery stores. My wife is Filipino and we shop at area Filipino food stores regularly and have been able to get pretty good deals on pork and other meats through them.

  18. Son of Grok

    Drew,
    The reason that i did not mention it is because I was focusing on how I personally would save money. Gardening is not really an option the way I landscaped my yard. You are totally right though! That is an awesome way to get some reasonably priced grub!

  19. PNP Transistor :

    yeah there are lot of cheap stuffs that you can buy on e-bay these days including those made in china stuffs `

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