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How to Save Money on Groceries

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Hit a whole in one: There's no better budget stretcher than cooking with whole grains. Pearl barley ($.90 a pound), brown rice ($1.15 a pound), and bulgur ($1.76 a pound) are low in fat, high in protein, and tummy-filling. Combine with meat or veggies to make a little go a long, healthy way.

Try dry: Dried beans, lentils, and split peas are less than $1 a pound and packed with nutrition. Cook up a pot and eat for three nights, turning them into a satisfying, Southern-style meal, Veggie Bean Burgers, or Pasta e Fagioli.
Do the math: A box of rice pilaf will set you back $2.29 and yield three cups, or one meal. Spend a dollar more on a five-pound bag of rice, and get the equivalent of 50 cooked cups. Mix with onions and chicken broth for DIY pilaf.

Heed nature's call: Seasonal, local fruits and veggies are always cheapest, so look for supermarket signs for produce from nearby farms. Bulk-purchasing lowers costs even more.

Chill out: Hit the grocery's frozen aisle for out-of-season produce that's affordable and full of flavor, as it's picked at its peak. Just bypass the pricey sweetened fruits or seasoned vegetables, and shop the store brand. Also a deal are canned veggies, especially tomatoes: A 28-ounce can delivers top taste for $1 less than the price of a pound of fresh.
Make the cut: Put in a little time slicing and dicing, and spend a lot less money on produce: Whole veggies and fruits can run a dollar less per pound than the precut versions.

 

Originally published on September 16, 2008

 

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