Kris at Cheap Healthy Good recently wrote how 60 minutes a week can save hundreds of dollars on food.

This kind of stuff never occurred to me in my early ‘20s, and The Boyfriend and I are much better for it now. We eat like the dickens and haven’t had to sell any major organs to finance peanut butter purchases (lately).

To keep her costs down and to reduce the time involved, Kris has created her own system, drawing on a variety of tips from other sources. Before you begin, you must know what food you already have on hand, which grocery stores are nearest to you, and where to find coupons for these stores. Once you have this info, Kris says you can save lots of money on food with just an hour of work per week.

  1. Scan the online circulars to find prices for only those foods you regularly eat. Watch for staples you can stockpile. For each store you plan to visit, write down the foods and the prices. (If you track this info in Excel, you can have a running record of the price on red onions, for example.)
  2. Clip and organize coupons. Kris warns that coupons can be a waste of money if they lead you to buy things you wouldn’t normally purchase. But if you clip coupons for things you already use and then combine them with sale prices, you can find some great deals.
  3. Plan a weekly menu. Based on what you already have and based on what’s on sale, draw up a menu for the next week. (Note: I know this is a great way to save money. My mother did this, and my wife likes to do it, too. But I loathe the lack of spontaneity in a fixed menu. I like to eat based on mood.)
  4. Create a grocery list. Now that you know what you plan to eat, create a grocery list including the sale items and other ingredients you might need. Remember: one of the best ways to save money at the supermarket is to stick to your list.

Since I started working from home in early March, my food costs have declined. This may be because I started a fitness program at the same time, but I think it’s largely because I’ve begun to shop from a list. Before, I’d just go to the grocery store and wander the aisles, looking for food I wanted. (“We always spend far more when you come to the grocery store with me,” my wife often tells me.) Now I know exactly which foods I want, and how much of them I can eat. (I’m wasting a lot less spoiled food since working from home, too.)

I first reviewed Cheap Healthy Good last November. It’s a great site.

[Cheap Healthy Good: The hour: How 60 minutes a week can save hundreds of dollars on food]