Lisa – The Domestic Life Stylist shares how to get more “bang for your buck” and save more on groceries.
It’s a New Year and people are making lifestyle changes for the better. High on the list is “saving money”. One of the biggest budget drainers is food costs. Of course, you can reduce food costs by couponing and tracking sales cycles but, those methods aren’t necessarily practical for everyone.
In addition, so much effort is spent talking about how to look for sales, that there is not enough emphasis on maximizing those savings once you get the food home. As a result, these tips are designed to help you minimize grocery spending by demonstrating practical ways to make your groceries last longer.
- Use Bag Clips.
Bag clips or freshness clips are a quick and easy way to keep food fresher… longer. Don’t you hate it when you reach for a bag of your favorite snack or cereal only to discover that it has lost it’s crunchiness? Using a bag clip will not only minimize the likelihood of your food from getting stale prematurely but, it will definitely lengthen the time before you have to throw it out. The longer your food stays fresh, the less likely you are to spend more money on things you already have and the more money will stay in your wallet.
- Buy Only as Much as You Need.
This is especially true with produce and other perishable foods. Buying 10 containers of yogurt just because it is on sale may not be a good idea. The key to this principle is having an idea of how much your family consumes before-hand. Then just tailor your buying habits accordingly. On the other hand, non-perishable food likes canned goods and paper products last longer and are generally only limited by space and cost.
- Use Freezer Bags.
Freezer bags are an affordable way to maximize savings on opened packages of meat, seafood,vegetables and other frozen items. These foods are susceptible to freezer burn once opened. Not only does using freezer bags minimize freezer burn, but buying these items in bulk on sale, allows for repackaging into small portions at a much lower cost.
- Wrap Herbs/Greens.
Wrapping fresh herbs like thyme and greens in paper towel before placing it in the refrigerator is a great way to prolong freshness. Fresh herbs and produce like thyme, kale, broccoli and lettuce are prone to wilting and mold caused by extra moisture. Wrapping those items in paper towels first will help keep moisture at bay.
- Pay Attention to Package Instructions.
Some items require refrigeration after opening while others do not. How do you know which ones do and which don’t? Just read the package. Note that to avoid food borne illness, you should always “keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold”.
- Remove the bags/Separate Produce.
While there is a desire to keep items in their original packaging to keep things neat, produce like apples, pears, bananas and potatoes make ethylene gas which causes ripening. This is the same reason that you should store potatoes by themselves instead of grouping them with other produce. So unless you want your produce to spoil prematurely, remove the bags and store those items by themselves.
- Remove the Air.
Using freezer bags and freshness clips are great, but they only work if you remove the air from the bag first. The air that comes in contact with food is the real culprit. That’s why vacuum sealing works so well. So press the air out and keep the freshness in.
- *BONUS TIP* – Use Every Bit.
There are several indicators when fruits and veggies have passed their prime. Slight yellowing, minor discolorations and textural changes are big signs that your produce may be on it’s way out. The key is to use the produce during this small window before they go bad. Use your fruits and veggies in catch-all dishes like soups, smoothies, breads and even frittatas. It’s a great way to minimize waste.
So make this year the year of no excuses. Use these tips to save more and make your groceries last even longer after your bring them home from the store.