5 Ways to Save on Groceries

checkoutIf you are feeding a family, you know the importance of finding ways to economize. It pays to be smart about what groceries you you buy, and smart about how you store and use them. Here are five ways to save on your food bill:

1. Get Social

Today almost every retailer has an account on Facebook and Twitter. Follow grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retail outlets where you can buy food products. Many stores are actively engaged in building their social communities, and they frequently offer special deals.

Nicole Piering runs social media and content promotions for retailers. She suggests you keep an eye out for bargains. She says, “Some special promos, coupons, and giveaways are offered solely to social communities on Facebook, Twitter, etc.,” and you may find savings that offer even deeper discounts than newspaper coupons. “I’ve given away a year’s worth of products to social media winners,” she says.

2. Check the Manager’s Specials

Managers frequently cut prices on products nearing their expiration dates. Be on the alert for these markdowns. Buy food that is still fresh enough to eat, and you can often cook it now and freeze it for later consumption. These discount apply even to top name brands.

3. Select Produce Wisely

Food marketing expert Phil Lempert reminds us that the best deals on produce are for fruits and vegetables in season. Also, frozen foods often go on sale when their fresh counterparts are available. Lempert, who calls himself the “Supermarket Guru,” says, “Frozen fruits and vegetables are packed at the peak of freshness, nutrition, and season.”

4. Be Smart About Scraps

Leftovers and scraps remaining from meal preparation can be reused by the smart chef. Try leftover vegetables, tips of roasts or extra pie crust and create a brand new meal. Add leftover veggies to pasta sauce; they will add nutrition and enhance the flavor, and your kids will be done the wiser. Leftover bits of beef or chicken can pack more protein into stews and soups. Make croutons or French toast from stale bread. Fruits that are overripe still taste great in smoothies.

5. Rethink Protein

You can create a hearty meal without adding beef, chicken or fish. Beans are a tasty and filling source of high-quality protein. You can cook dried beans or buy canned; you may be surprised at the varieties you find on the grocery shelves. Lempert suggests trying the supermarket brands for extra savings. Add beans to salads, soups, casseroles, or pasta. They are also excellent pureed in dips and spreads.