While driving to our monthly book group discussion on Saturday, Kris and I had a conversation with our friend Courtney. Courtney's family is beginning to feel a financial squeeze. Her husband's employer is cutting jobs. To keep working, he'll have to take a pay cut and move back to the position he left a couple of years ago.
“I've started to read personal finance books,” Courtney told us. “We know we're going to have to make do with less money, so I'm looking for advice. I'd really like to learn how to cut back on groceries, for example.”
“Oh, you should read Get Rich Slowly,” Kris said. “J.D. writes about that all the time.”
It's true. I do share a lot of stories about how to save on food. It's something we all struggle with. But I feel like I've almost written too much on the subject. “I don't want to post another story about clipping coupons,” I said. “But, you know, maybe I could collect all of the stories about food that I've published in the past. I could post a compendium for you, Courtney.”
“That'd be great,” she said.
I've scoured three years of the GRS archives to find the best stories about saving money on food. First up is this survey: How much do you spend on food? There's no info in the article itself, but there are over 180 comments that reveal families have radically different budgets for food. Some people are able to feed a family of six on $400 a month. But some single folks spend $400 a month just on themselves.
I divided the remaining articles into broad categories:
- Once-a-month shopping: Save more by shopping less — Research indicates that the less often we shop, the less we spend. Here's how one family makes this work.
- Once-a-month cooking: Cooking for the rushed — My brother is one of many who has found that “batch cooking” helps to save his family time and money.
- Keep track of food with a leftovers list — Americans waste too much food. Here's a way to reduce waste.
- How to save hundreds by playing the drugstore game (a guest post from Cathy at Chief Family Officer)
- How to buy a side of beef — Buying meat in bulk can save money while providing better quality.
- How to eat vegetarian on the cheap (a guest post from GRS-reader Sally)
- Use a grocery price-book to slash your food spending — How to keep a log of what you spend on staples.
- Save on groceries with “strike-point shopping” — By knowing how much things normally cost, you can take advantage of sales.
- Unit pricing: Get more food for less money (a guest post from Charlie at PearBudget), and the follow-up: Buying cheap spices: Unit pricing in action
Lists of hints and tips
- Ask the readers: Tips and tricks to save on food?
- 17 ways to save big at the supermarket
- How to feed yourself for $15 a week (an extended reader comment turned into a blog entry)
- The lazy man's guide to groceries on a budget (a guest post from Karl Katzke)
- Saving at the supermarket: 15 great grocery shopping tips
- How to save $100 (or more) at the grocery store this month (a guest post from Erin at $5 Dinners)
- How to eat at a swanky restaurant without blowing your monthly food budget
- Finding good wines at great prices
- Quick tips for eating organic
- Grocery store vs. farmers market: Which has the cheapest produce?
- Easy and cheap home-made bread — Kris and I love this bread.
- Simple home-made chicken stock using a supermarket rotisserie chicken
- Hearty baked potato soup — GRS readers love this recipe.
- Taco soup
- Confessions of a butcher: Eating steak on a hamburger budget
- Making the most of cheap cuts of beef
The psychology of shopping
- Are you a shopaholic? Six steps to curb compulsive spending
- How shopping momentum leads to more shopping
- Why we shop: Getting a grip on consumerism (by Betsy from Money Changes Things)
- The small bite: A sensible way to splurge
- Dangerous norms: When a treat becomes a routine matter (a guest post from Trent at The Simple Dollar)
- The power of attentive spending (a guest post from Kevin at No-Debt Plan)
- 10 questions to ask yourself when you're tempted to buy
You can find many other similar articles in the food category of the Get Rich Slowly archives.
Though I generally frown on overt self-promotion in the comments, I'm making an exception for this post. If you have a favorite article about saving on food — from anywhere on the web, including your own site — feel free to share it with Courtney and other GRS readers!