How I’m Saving Money on Groceries This Winter
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Saving money on groceries is usually an area of personal finance that most of us struggle with. I find that winter is often the best time to really cut down that grocery bill. Summer, at least for us, seems to be the time when we spend the most on groceries as we celebrate the warmer weather with barbeques and picnics and purchase items that we might not ordinarily buy. So, when winter comes around, we work hard to buckle down and get our grocery bills extra low to make up for summer splurges on fun foods like S’mores fixings and mass quantities of ice cream. 🙂
If your family’s grocery shopping habits are anything like mine, I think you’ll find these tips helpful for keeping grocery bills extra low during the winter months.
Saving Money on Groceries Starts With Double-Dipping
Double-dipping on our food supply is one of my favorite ways to keep grocery costs low. We do this by finding key ingredients that can serve a dual-purpose for meal-planning.
For instance, we’ll make a pot roast on Sunday, and then use the leftover meat to make beef chili, beef stroganoff or vegetable beef soup during the week. We purposely work to pick meals that have the potential to be used again in various ways. Chicken dinner, for example, often means chicken fajitas or a chicken and rice casserole later in the week.
Arranging your meal plan in a way that allows you to make several meals out of just a few ingredients will save you money on your grocery bill. It will also help you get back some of that extra you spent on special items during the summer months.
Stock Up on Comfort Foods
There’s nothing like comfort food to get one through those long winter days, so each fall we’ll take a weekend or two and make huge pots of different kinds of soups, or different kinds of casseroles and put them in the freezer.
For instance, I’ll boil up a whole chicken, shred the meat, and divide the meat and broth into several bags so that we have a base soup ready for chicken noodle soup, chicken wild rice soup and a host of casseroles or other soups. We shred the meat small so that it stretches into more meals, and make sure the meals are hearty by adding in veggies that we chopped and froze during summer sales or from our garden.
Gather With Family or Friends
A good potluck dinner is a great way to pass the time during the long winters, and it makes meals cheaper as well. With each person or family bringing something, nobody has to do it all, and grocery costs can be cut down substantially. Invite a few friends or family members over and have everyone share in putting the meal together. You can make the spaghetti, while others bring the bread, salad, or dessert. Play some games, enjoy yummy food and have fun.
Hopefully these tips help you save money on your food bill this winter like they do for our family. I know I’ll be using them to save money on my grocery spending this winter. If you get discouraged or feel overwhelmed, or are tempted just to give up and splurge all year long, just know that you don’t have to eat beans and rice for days on end or going on a 6-month no-spend challenge to recoup your grocery costs. It just takes a little thought, planning and creativity.
What are your best tips for saving money on groceries during the long winter days? What are your favorite winter meals or activities? How do you repurpose your meals to make them go farther for your family?
Photo courtesy of: Alan Levine