Last Sunday I went grocery shopping, one of the best tips I got from my mother was to take a calculator with me. There are two reasons, one, to keep myself on budget and two, for figuring out cost per… whatever. As I walk around the store and pick up items I enter them into my calculator and round up to the nearest dollar when I do (I’d rather be over than under).

Secret #2 is to make sure that I jot down on a piece a paper (back of a junk mail envelope) a list of food that I need to buy. I also include junk food as well and exactly what I am going to buy so that I don't get carried away. Did you know that shopping without a list can cost you up to 40% more with the impulse buys that are picked up?

Secret #3 is cutting back on red meat will also save me money at the check out. I have increased my chicken intake to save money and with thanksgiving around the corner, there will be good turkey sales coming up after the holiday that can be frozen for the year.

Secret #4 that has been around for a long time is to cook from scratch. When you buy prepared items, you are not only paying for the ingredients but also for the time they took to prepare it. So make it yourself, start with small, easy recipes to build up your confidence and work it into your schedule.

Secret #5 involves freezing the extra, especially on a good bulk deal. Separate your food into easy to thaw serving sizes, this stops you from having to re-freeze anything or the need to use it all before it spoils. Freezing the extra is also commonly used for making vegetable stew. After a dinner, dump all your extra vegetables into a container in the freezer and you have a homemade vegetable stew ready for later without much hassle.

Secret #6 is becoming more common, buying generic is one of the simple ways to save money. Many times the store brand is made by the name brand companies and in some cases the store brand has a better quality than the name brand. Personally, I like the store brand tissues to blow my nose because they are softer and thicker.

Secret #7 is about eating less to save money on food. It is interesting to watch myself stretch the food when the cupboards are getting bare, but eat like a hog when they are full. Because of this, I need to retrain my brain to make the food last as long as possible so I am more consistent.

And by eating less, I am not only able to maintain a better weight, but also able to stretch the amount of time I go in between shopping trips - from 6 weeks to 8-9 weeks.

Secret #8 is about snacking and fillers, like fruits, vegetables and soups. These are cheaper to eat for meals and and in between meals, plus they're better for your health. This year we have frozen home-made soup put away for the winter - beef stew and chicken noodle

Secret #9 is to grow a garden and save yourself the cost of buying it, more often than not you will have enough food for your family and extra to give (or sell) to others.

And don't forget, Secret  #10, that there are alternative locations to buy food that may be cheaper like farmer's markets or ethnic grocery stores.


  1. Gina @ MoneywiseMoms // Monday, November 02, 2009 6:34:00 PM  

    Great tips! I think some people think these habits are hard, but once you start doing them consistently month after month, they're easy to do and really make a difference.

  2. Lawrence // Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:51:00 PM  

    Starting to implement routines were difficult for me but after a short while, it became just that... routine.

  3. Dawn // Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:55:00 PM  

    @Gina & @Lawrence
    They really are simple and just taking one at a time and going day by day help immensely

  4. Karli @ CRB // Thursday, November 05, 2009 2:29:00 PM  

    I've always have a hard time in the grocery store. The one trick that I've learned is not to go shopping when I'm hungry.

  5. Dawn // Thursday, November 05, 2009 4:15:00 PM  

    Good one! I forgot that one.

  6. Hammy // Thursday, November 05, 2009 11:36:00 PM  

    Spot on with all of your tips Dawn. I was also going to add that you should eat before going shopping to cut down on impulse buying - especially of junk food.
    Perhaps go shopping when the store isn't crowded so that you don't feel pressured to grab anything from the shelf to get out of the shop more quickly.
    Buy in bulk and make use of your pantry.

  7. Amazon Coupons // Monday, December 14, 2009 8:23:00 AM  

    I think they are really simple and just taking one at a time and going day by day help immensely

  8. Kelsey // Friday, May 07, 2010 9:58:00 AM  

    Great list. I love going to farmer's markets and I always buy generic. Usually I don't know the difference.