Arizona Farm Bureau recently added additional food shopping savings tips to its list. The source of Arizona’s quarterly food marketbasket survey, Arizona Farm Bureau regularly connects with members on their shopping strategies and ways to stretch their food dollar.
Arizona Farm Bureau also quarterly develops a “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu that builds each new menu around food items from the quarterly marketbasket that have come down in price. The latest menu that represents food items down in price from the last quarter marketbasket can be found at Arizona Farm Bureau’s www.fillyourplate.org. The latest “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu also includes a shopping list and even suggested recipes.
Arizona Farm Bureau’s Updated Food Shopping Savings Tips:
• Make a menu and then make a list! The number one tip for saving money on groceries, making a menu and a shopping list helps you in a variety of ways. First of all, making a grocery list forces you to think about what you are buying and if you actually need it. In addition, making a list – and sticking to it – will prevent impulse buys! If you stick to the list you will buy the items you need for your weekly menu. Example planning: while planning your menu, think of the meat you will purchase and plan more than one meal that uses the same meat. Buy a little bigger roast and make rolled tacos or barbeque sandwiches with the leftovers.
• Never shop hungry. Avoid the grocery store while you are hungry! You are much more likely to put things into your basket that you do not need if you are hungry because you will be more likely to buy on “impulse.” You will be much more susceptible to picking up food that is on display – and is often more expensive – and will tend to buy more food than you actually need. Eat a snack before grocery shopping, and stick to your list (see first tip above)!
• Shop alone. Studies show that men and women tend to spend more when they shop as couples and even more when they shop with children. It’s easier on you and your wallet if you only have to worry about controlling one person’s impulses compared to trying to handle 3 or 4 different people at one time. Shop alone and you will put less in your basket; or try using in-store child care and carry-out service.
• Consider buying frozen vegetables. Typically, frozen veggies are less expensive than vegetables in the produce aisle. Additionally, frozen vegetables will keep for several months. When vegetables are frozen, they are washed and packaged the day they’re picked so freshness is an added benefit with frozen vegetables.
• Visit your local farmer, farm stand or join a CSA (community supported agriculture), Food Co-op to get the freshest produce. Visit Fill Your Plate at www.fillyourplate.org to find items in your community; some items can be shipped directly to you. When shopping at a farmers market, take a cooler so that your fresh items won’t spoil on the way home. Some CSAs will deliver your items to your door.
• Buy fresh and less processed items. Purchasing fresh items such as fruit and vegetables for snacks will help you create a healthier diet. Many processed foods are more expensive and have added salts and sugars. Fresh items are healthier for you and your family.
• Buy generic or store brand products. Many store brand products are actually made by the same companies that make more expensive brands, so you don’t have much to lose, except for the pretty packaging.
• Purchase only groceries. Personal care products, paper products, and cleaning products are less expensive at discount stores than at your local grocery store.
• Shop the edges of the store, but avoid items at the ends of aisles. Grocery stores are professionally designed to get you to buy as much as possible.
• Use rebates. Many people tend to buy a certain product because of a rebate and then forget to send the rebate offer in! Avoid this by sending the rebate in as soon as you make the purchase – you will save money and not have to worry about finding receipts later.
• Organize coupons. First of all, only use coupons for items that you already buy! Buying something that you won’t use does not save you any money! When using coupons, it often helps to organize them by subject and expiration date.
• Buy in bulk – but don’t go crazy. We’ve all heard the stories of people who go to Costco and buy 200 pounds of rice for a family of two. However, if you don’t go too crazy, buying in bulk is a good way to save money. Bringing a calculator with you to figure out which item is a better deal can save time.
• Watch sales. When something that you buy regularly is on sale, stock your pantry! Make sure you’re not buying more than you can use before it goes bad, but buy what you can when it is on sale.
• Consider buying a freezer. Many items can be frozen when purchased on sale and then used for future meals.
• Prep meals in advance or have a cooking party. Invite your friends or neighbors over for a cooking party. Plan meals in advance and have everyone bring their ingredients. Cook together and save time, money and have fun as well.
Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services.
For more information contact Julie Murphree at (480) 635-3607 or go to http://www.azfb.org.