Learn terrific savings secrets from All You's Grocery Challenge bloggers!
This year’s Grocery Challenge contestants blogged about their money-saving techniques throughout the contest. Click through to see some of their best tips, and visit the blog to see more or to share your own advice!
Frozen bananas, without the peel on them, can be used for smoothies, banana bread, banana muffins, or banana pancakes. You can substitute bananas in just about any recipe for a baked item that calls for fruit. Freeze the overripe brown ones that nobody wants to eat. Peel them first, because they are really hard to peel when they are frozen (I know, I tried!). For baking, you should thaw before using. For smoothies, just toss into the blender still frozen. It makes the smoothie thicker. ―Adie
I try to stretch my regular budget by shopping at ethnic markets around my area. I buy most produce and meats at Asian markets, while using thegrocerygame.com to maximize my budget at Ralph’s. It can be done though; in March ‘09 we had so much stockpiled and frozen foods, we only spent $25 on groceries (not counting eating out). ―Chiara
Race walk the store. I try to shop for 15 to 20 minutes only, giving myself a deadline like being at work, or picking up the kids. Having only so much time, I don’t spend it wandering and finding new things. I get what I need and get out!―Margaret Ellis
When my kids say they are hungry for a snack, I suggest that they have a big glass of water first to make sure that they aren’t really just thirsty rather than hungry. It is healthy, saves money and most importantly, it teaches my kids a lifelong lesson of listening to their body and not eating what they don’t need.―Julie
To save even more money on a stew, I keep a storage container in my refrigerator. I put all of the leftover veggies in it we don’t eat at a meal―that couple of tablespoons of corn that no one wanted, or the excess carrot sticks that are starting to dry out―anything that isn’t enough to keep to make a side dish. If I have any meals that have gravy with them I will also dump that in there (which helps to keep it all from drying out). Then at the end of the week I throw whatever is in that storage container into the crock-pot with whatever cheap cut of meat I have on hand and add in enough additional veggies, broth and sometimes a whole grain pasta to make a stew that my family loves. It’s one of the best ways I’ve found to eliminate a lot of the waste and save some extra money. Sometimes in the summer I’ll freeze the contents of the storage containers―that way when fall comes around, and we’re in more of a stew mood I have all the ingredients close at hand.―Nora Cash
I sat down several months ago and wrote down every possible meal that my family of seven will eat and enjoy. To plan meals, I first take stock and make a written list of edibles in my freezer, fridge and pantry. Then I’ll sit down and put together meals from what I have, then I’ll make up meals from what I have plus what’s on sale that week, then I have a list of less expensive meals to fill in my meal plan. ―Rhonda Lynne
If you must eat out, go to the drive through and stick to the dollar menu or value menu. The items are smaller, and so is the cost. Less calories and less cash! I can get a cheeseburger, small fries and a drink for $3. Even better, take it home and have a drink from your fridge. Then it is only $2 for a meal. With our family of five, we can feed everyone for $10 if we have drinks at home. ―Chelsi