How to Save Money on Groceries
Eat cheap: Supermarket rotisserie chicken makes a fast meal, but
convenience costs: about $7 for the average bird. You can roast your own
three-pounder in an hour with inexpensive herbs from the pantry for
Bone up: Swap boneless chicken breasts ($5.99 a pound) for bone-in
thighs ($2.19 a pound), which is perfect for easy-prep-and-cook
Talk turkey: Not just for Thanksgiving, a hefty gobbler can serve up
three hearty meals, with enough meat left over for sandwiches. Choose a frozen
turkey, at $1.29 a pound, over fresh breast fillets, at $4.89 a pound.
Avoid the tender trap: Buy value cuts like chuck pot roast, bone-in
sirloin roast, and pork shoulder, at $3 to $5 a pound. While not as juicy or as
quick-cooking as rib-eye or pork loin roasts, they have top-notch flavor,
tenderize with slow cooking, and can feed a crowd.
Meet a new meat: For an economical version of premium, $20-a-pound
filet mignon, try flat iron steak (also called top blade), a richly marbled
butcher's bargain at $5 a pound. This newly created cut, from the steer's
shoulder blade, used to go into the grinder for hamburger until a more precise
cutting technique was developed.
Steer clear: Skip those pricey premade burger patties. Make your own
with ground beef from a family pack of three or more pounds and save nearly 15
cents per patty; freeze any extra meat for another night.
Fish around: Switch out halibut and sea bass, which can cost $25 per
pound, for wallet-friendly fish with similar tastes and textures. Tilapia and
cod are as mild-flavored and firm as fancier fish, at one-third the price.
Fake it: If a dish calls for $11-per-pound lobster or $25-per-pound
crab, opt for surimi ($4 to $6 a pound). Used in Japan for 900 years, this
imitation shellfish (made with real white fish seasoned with crab or other
seafood extracts) works well in salads, crab cakes, and casseroles.
Be happy as a clam: Fresh seafood doesn't get thriftier than blue
mussels and chowder clams. Both are under $2 a dozen, and can be made into
Keep your sunny side up: While the cost of eggs is rising to more
than $2 a dozen, they're still a nutritional steal: Eggs are one of the fastest
ways to make over leftovers or to quickly create filling dinners. Cartons of 18
are often marked down, since they're not as popular as the classic dozen. And
pick up whatever size eggs are on sale; unless you're baking, it doesn't matter
if they're jumbo or large.
Say cheese: It seems counterintuitive, but spending $15 for a pound
of ultra-flavorful cheese like Gruyère or feta can actually save you cash.
Because the taste is strong, you'll use less for cooking.
Milk it: With a gallon of milk inching above $4, why not try the
powdered stuff for baking and cooking? A four-pound box of dry, nonfat milk
costs about $8 and yields five gallons when reconstituted.