Tips for Saving on Groceries

We all know that trips to the grocery store are costing more these days and while we can’t eliminate food costs from our lives, reducing the amount of food that gets thrown out can save money and waste less. A 2019 report by Community Environmental Services, part of Portland State University, estimated that the average Oregon household throws away 6.3 pounds of food per week, 71 percent of which was once edible. 

To help consumers make the most of their food budgets OnPoint Community Credit Union and Fred Meyer Stores collaborated to create a list of smart shopping tips. “From establishing a sustainable meal prep routine to tracking sales and fuel points, there are many strategies customers can employ to create savings in their grocery budget,” said Jeffery Temple, Director of Corporate Affairs for Fred Meyer.

Inventory your pantry, refrigerator and freezer and shop with a list. 

Create an inventory list that includes expiration dates and quantities of all food and household items you have on hand. Update your list as you use each item and then add them to your grocery list. This will help you avoid buying too many of one item or not enough of another, saving you additional trips to the store that will cost you more money. 

Be methodical when buying in bulk.

While buying in bulk can cost more initially, it can save you money in the long term if you are shopping strategically. Bulk items can limit trips to the store, saving you time, money and gas. However, bulk items don’t pan out if you don’t purchase and preserve them properly. Nonperishable bulk items like pasta and spices are generally cheaper per unit versus perishables like produce, dairy and meat because they have a longer shelf life. If you do buy perishables in bulk, look at the expiration date and be realistic about whether you can consume the product before it expires. If not, think twice about your purchase or be sure to wash, package and freeze your items before they go bad. 

Create a sustainable meal prep routine. 

Spending time every week planning your meals is good for your physical and financial health. Create a sustainable meal plan by starting small, making it enjoyable and maximizing your ingredients. If you are new to meal prepping, begin with planning a few meals and snacks, then build momentum from there. Make meal planning fun by engaging the whole family, from choosing the menu to preparing the meal. Choose ingredients that can be used in other meals. For example, if you’re making spaghetti one night, save some sauce and make lasagna.

Pre-portion snacks. 

Buy whole fruit and veggies to be cut up, a cheaper and healthier alternative to packaged snacks. Purchase value packs of cured meats, cheeses and crackers and make portioned snack bags. Keep water and healthy non-perishable snacks like trail mix or jerky in your car. Having water and snacks on hand can limit portions and cut down on last-minute trips to the drive-through.

Use your freezer. 

Everything from cheese and lunch meat to nuts and pre-cooked meals has a freezer life. Freeze perishable items to extend their shelf life. If you are making a casserole, soup or other freezeable meal, double or triple your recipe and freeze additional meals for another time.

Avoid wasting food. 

Being a good steward of food saves you money. Keep your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid over-freezing vegetables or undercooling meats and dairy. Store vegetables, fruit, meat and butter in their specific compartments. Store items like pasta, coffee and grains in a dark, cool, dry place so they don’t grow mold. Keep bananas, tomatoes, peppers and other items that emit gas in your pantry. If a food item doesn’t have a long shelf life, don’t purchase it until right before you’re going to eat it.

Check the unit price of your item. 

The unit price for the item you’re about to purchase is found on the shelf tag or listed on the product page online. A larger package size could have a smaller per-unit item price.

Keep an eye out for sales and opt-in digital savings. 

From weekly deals and savings events to “Must Buy” deals, each Fred Meyer offer is a little different. Double-check the coupon to ensure you are taking full advantage of the savings. Stay on top of every savings and special sales event by checking that your digital account preferences are set up to receive every email. Explore Fred Meyer’s mobile app to uncover additional digital savings, then clip coupons directly to your loyalty card for your next shop. (Safeway and other stores typically have similar programs.)

Keep track and earn fuel points.

Using your fuel points to fill up at a local Fred Meyer can save you up to $1.25 per gallon. Discover more ways to save, such as filling prescriptions at Fred Meyer pharmacies, using Kroger Ship for big purchases, joining the Fred Meyer Boost membership program and taking advantage of extra earning events.

Create a mindful budget with help from the pros. 

Visit one of OnPoint’s 55 locations (including 20 inside Fred Meyer stores) where you can get help creating a realistic budget that includes responsible monthly grocery expenditures.  

Tips for Saving on Groceries

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