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8 Tips for Cutting Back on Grocery Expenses

When you're living paycheck to paycheck, every penny counts. Going to a movie can seem like a real treat, and buying a pair of solid shoes may require a shift in the budget.

If there aren't a ton of funds to spare, you may constantly look for ways to cut back so you can splurge elsewhere. One area that you continually struggle with might be your groceries; you have to stock your household with food, but how can you do so cheaply? Below, we'll discuss eight tips for saving money on groceries and eating affordably.

1. Use Coupons and Go Generic

Two of the easiest ways to save a few cents here and there are taking advantage of coupons and purchasing generic brands. Cut out any coupons from the newspaper or from mailed coupon sheets, and look for any additional deals. Instead of reaching for your favorite brand of rice, try the

2. Buy in Bulk

If your grocery store has a section for buying unpackaged bulk foods, such as nuts, grains, and spices, get what you need there. Pouring a ton of oatmeal into a provided plastic bag can save you money on expensive packaging and food.

Even for packaged items, such as meat, purchase the larger, bulkier bag or box and divide it into reasonable servings. For perishable items like meats and produce, freeze what you can't use right away, and save it all for a later date.

3. Think Canned, Frozen, or Dried

Fresh produce or meat has a certain appeal, but canned, frozen, or dried foods are cheaper and usually have the same or close to the same nutritional value. They also last longer than their fresher counterparts. Opt for canned fish when you're craving seafood, and grab a bag of frozen berries for those morning smoothies.

4. Learn to Garden

If you have a sizable windowsill or patch of dirt, try your hand at gardening. Growing your own food can save you quite a bit of cash, and there's nothing fresher than a tomato straight from the garden. Plant what you use plenty of, such as onions or cucumbers.

5. Get to Freezing or Canning

Most of the time, produce is cheapest when it's in season. Buy a ton of your favorite fruits or vegetables when they're ripe and inexpensive, and then freeze or can them to use later in the year.

If you have your own garden, plant a little more than you need for the season so you can freeze or can the excess to use in the winter. For a little adventure, consider canning your own tomato sauce or pickles.

6. Prepare Before You Shop

The best time to shop is when you're already stuffed. Going when you're hungry leads to impulse buys, which can suck quite a few dollars out of your bank account. Try to go shopping after dinner or after some other meal.

It's also a great idea to make a grocery list before you hit the aisles. Prepare a meal plan for the week, and write down the ingredients you need for each meal. Planning beforehand and sticking to a list can prevent you from making unnecessary purchases and taking several trips to the store.

7. Eat Inexpensive Proteins

Meat can be costly, but protein is necessary in a healthy diet. Instead of wandering towards the red meat, look for cost-effective protein substitutes, such as legumes, eggs, tofu, and beans. You can also purchase rotisserie chicken for cheap and make a few meals from it.

8. Cook Smart

It can take a little work, but cooking from scratch can save you money in the long run. Try your hand at homemade macaroni and cheese, or give an online soup recipe a try.

Also, try and use every little scrap of food. You can make stuffing or bread pudding from leftover crusts or bread ends. Or you can save chicken bones or vegetable scraps to make broth. Spending a little extra time in the kitchen can save you several bucks.

However, even when you're careful with your finances, it can still be difficult to meet your monetary obligations. When you're struggling to pay a bill, turn to Flexible Finance Loans for a payday loan. We can help you get the cash you need in a tight spot, even if you're short on time.

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