Saving Money on Groceries

Pioneers ate meat from the animals they owned or from animals they hunted. After slaughtering and butchering the meat they salted it heavily to preserve the meat for long periods of time. When the pioneer women got ready to cook the meat they had to wash the salt off of the meat before they could cook it. Pioneers ate a lot of fruits and vegetables that they grew themselves or that they gathered. To preserve them the pioneer women would can them or dry them. But there were times that the pioneer women would have to get creative in what meals that they prepared for their families because of lack of meat or crops lost to droughts or an unexpected freeze.
Today most people have access to grocery stores where they can purchase the food that their family needs. The main factor that hinders their grocery purchases is the cost of these foods. Saving money on groceries is necessary to stay within your means or in other words spending less than you earn. Spending less than you earn is the only way to accumulate wealth.
Other than raising my own cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys for meat consumption and having a vegetable garden, a fruit orchard, pecan trees and honeybees, I use basically three methods to save money at the grocery store. The first method is to use the grocery weekly sales advertisements that are mailed to my house, found in the local paper or that I pick up directly from the store. Also keep in mind that stores that are not normally considered grocery stores often have sales on groceries to get people in their store to shop, such as Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy. I am sure you can find similar stores that carry groceries that have sales. From these stores I have found butter, cream cheese, coffee and more at super low prices. These are sales to get you in their store to shop. The key to saving money is to only buy the sales items and not to be lured into buying anything else in the store. You go in with the sale flyer with the only intent to purchase these sale items. If they are out of the sale item ask for a rain check. This rain check entitles you to buy the item at a later time at the advertised sale price. These rain checks are usually good for 30 days.
Another way to save money on groceries is to have a pantry and a freezer where you can store the items you buy on sale. Your pantry does not necessarily have to be in your kitchen. If you have room for a pantry in or near the kitchen great!  If not, any closet will work. If you cannot spare a closet, how about under a bed or a couple of empty shelves or drawers. My pantry is a closet in my home office. I installed shelves from floor to ceiling. That is where I can store rice, beans, coffee, can goods, and other groceries I find on sale.  I also store extra toothpaste, toilet paper, medicine, bandages, water, paper plates, powder milk and anything else I think I might need during and after a natural disaster.
I think every home also needs to have a separate freezer to take advantage of items on sale or to store extras fruits and vegetables that your garden produces. I have both an upright freezer as well as a chest freezer. After having both for many years, the best type of freezer is an upright freezer because you have shelves where you can group like items versus a chest freezer where you have to dig through to find what you need. If you have both a pantry and a freezer you can take advantage of sale items and stock up on them. That way you will not have to buy items when you need them at full price. Also having a pantry and freezer allows you to serve more of a variety of meals to your family. Instead of having chicken everyday when you find it at the grocery store on sale you could also put some in the freezer for later in the month.
Finally, the third method I use is to take advantage of unadvertised mark downs at the grocery store. At several grocery stores in the town where I live, they have a shelf in the back of the store where they place can goods and other dry goods that are being discontinued. You can find some real bargains there. Also these same stores have several days during the week when they mark down their meat and bread products that are about to expire to half price.  I take them home and use them that same day or the next day. If I do not have an immediate need for them I will freeze them. They also regularly cull their fruits and vegetables for produce that does not meet their appearance standard and mark them down as well. They stuff a bag full of vegetables or fruit and sell it for a dollar a bag. Once again I take the fruits and vegetables home and plan on incorporating them in my weekly meals. I use what I think has the less shelf life first, while saving the better quality of vegetables and fruits for later in the week. If I do not have an immediate need for them I will freeze, can, or dry them. 

The unadvertised mark downs of bananas, bell peppers, squash, zuchinni, okra and lemons.
 To find these unadvertised mark downs at your local store you will probably have to ask the store employees. If the employees seem to be clueless, find out who the manager of the meat department, produce department,  and bakery department is and ask them casually what do they do with the items that are about to expire. More than likely they will let you have them for less than half price.  Also the deli department at a local grocery store marks down their unsold cooked food at the end of the dinner rush around 8:00pm. That is when I can find fried chicken, fried catfish, corn dogs and more that I can use another day for lunch or dinner. Ask store employees for mark downs. The worst that they can say is no.
Also do not forget about mark down bakeries such as an outlet bakery or a discount bakery. In the town where I live you can buy brand name bread that usually sells for over three dollars a loaf at a regular grocery store for 99cents at the discount bakeries.
Good luck in saving money on groceries while you prepare nutritious meals for your family!


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