One of the great things about saving money on groceries is that, if you do your research and take this approach, you will not only be eating healthier foods; you’ll also be helping the environment at the same time. These two goals – saving money on groceries and saving the environment – are easily put together. Here are some tips.
Skip the Packaging
Plastic packaging, cardboard boxes, paper wrapping, etc. are all landfill fillers. When you think about it, so much of our groceries come in packages. Minimize the packaging by buying foods in their whole form. For instance, buy head lettuce, not plastic tubs of pre-cut salad greens. Instead of buying plastic bags of raw vegetables or tubs of chopped fruit, buy these foods whole and cut them up yourself.
The same goes for pre-packaged cookies, snacks, and cakes, and all those frozen foods. Think whole foods with the least amount of preparation and packaging, and you’ll save some money and lessen your impact on the environment.
Know When to Buy in Bulk
Unless you’re making dinner for a lot of people, it usually doesn’t pay to buy perishable foods in bulk. The exception to this is foods you can freeze. So if there’s a big sale on carrots, bananas, or onions, it may not be a good idea to buy more than usual. But meats can be portioned and frozen, and vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers and green beans can be frozen as well. Apples can be preserved through apple butter, applesauce, or canned. But skip the bulk buys if you can’t use or preserve the food.
If you have children who love juice, you probably have heard that it’s best to water it down. And it’s much more economical to water the juice down yourself rather than buying it pre-watered down. Also, if you skip the juice boxes and bottles, you will be helping the environment by serving juice in reusable cups and drink bottles.
Skip buying individual bottles of water and use filtered tap water in reusable containers instead. If you don’t have a home water filter, take your own container with you to the store – some stores have a machine that allows you to buy purified water by the gallon for very little money.
Find out if your store has electronic coupons, and see if you can download these into your account with your grocer. This saves paper and saves you the trouble of shuffling paper coupons.
Consider getting a pressure cooker. It saves a great deal of energy, which helps the environment, and can save you a lot of time and money. A pressure cooker saves money by reducing the amount of electricity you use, but also because you can cook less expensive foods easily (such as dried beans and brown rice).
Pressure cookers also make less expensive cuts of meat taste very good and tender. Yet another advantage of the pressure cooker is that you can make your own chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable stock in minutes, keeping you from having to buy lots of pre-packaged stock at the store and helping you use your leftovers to make stock.