Stretch Your Grocery Dollar

Woman looking at her shopping list

If you’re feeling the heat at the checkout counter, you’re not alone. The rising costs of everyday staples have moms wondering how they can afford to leave the supermarket each week with enough food to feed their families well. Total Mom author and host of the new PBS series HANNAH HELP ME!, Hannah Keeley, and Libby’s have teamed up to help you stretch your grocery dollar.

Pinch Pennies in the Pantry

Five minutes in your pantry can save you big bucks and time at the supermarket. Before your trip to the store, spend some time checking out what you already have in stock. That leftover can of green beans that you bought last month could be a perfect side dish with chicken on Wednesday!

Plan Ahead

With everything you juggle, your time is important. Take time up front to plan out a week’s worth of meals so that you can spend more time with the family instead of making expensive, impulsive trips to the market. First, check your pantry (see Tip No. 1) to see what you already have and your local store’s circular to see what’s on sale this week. Once you’re inspired, make a list of what you plan to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. You can even get the kids involved in the brainstorming process – ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy during the week!

Swap Swank for Savvy

Yes, you want the best and your family deserves it, but let’s face it, do you really have time to clean, cut and steam fresh string beans this evening? Think not. Take your grocery dollar further by choosing recipes that let you swap out fresh vegetables for canned ones. And, opt for lesser-known brands, like Libby’s, with the same level of quality of more prominent brands but a more attractive price point. Get more recipes using canned vegetables in our CANvenient Recipe Database.

Boost Budget Basics

It would be great if every mom had time to shop alone, but the reality is that most moms need to take their kids along to the grocery store. Stay focused and on budget while shopping with the kids by creating a learning experience. Before you set out, show them your list and explain that this is exactly what the family needs for the week. Divide the list and get the kids involved in hunting for the essentials, saving you time and sanity! Older children can put their math skills to real-world use, weighing apples, counting cans of peas and calculating sale prices.

Buying Bulk on a Budget

Your math is correct, you do get more peanuts per penny when you buy them in a 15 lb. bag, but do you actually need 15 lbs. of peanuts? Buying in bulk is an art form. Splurge only on products that you know you will use so waste is minimal. Paper towels or toilet paper, for instance, do not expire and are always handy. The same rule goes for canned foods, some dried packaged foods and meats that can be separated into family-portion sizes and properly frozen for extended periods.

Shop Sales, Smartly

Point blank, being a slave to sales will not save you money. Just like buying in bulk, if you do not need that extra box of cereal, then it doesn’t matter if you can save $0.20, it will only drain your budget. Stick to your list and try to find products that will consistently offer you quality for a good value week after week. That said, if you find a sale on something you need or something that does not perish, go for it.

Know Your Prices

How do you know if you’re getting a good deal? Know what you paid for it last week. Keep a notepad with you and write down the prices for the products that you consistently buy. This habit will prove priceless when it comes to figuring out which sales products are worth stocking up on or when you need to budget for a big holiday meal.

Shop Bright and Early

We’ve all heard about the early bird catching the worm. Well, this saying holds true for catching appetizing deals at your local grocery store, too. Some stores mark down fresh fruits, vegetables, milks and meats during the morning hours (before 9:00 a.m.). So, why not get an early start and have your pick of the very best? You’ll have plenty of time to rest with the family later.

Family Fun Time Meet Dinner Time

Want to get your kids excited about eating the healthy dinners that you prepare? Invest in an apron or two (or, in Hannah’s case, seven!) and get the whole family into the kitchen to cook together. You’ll be sharing your knowledge, your love and your time with the people you want to nourish the most.

For more tips, check out Hannah Keeley’s Family Mealtime Strategies