A “New” Old Tactic for Saving Money on Groceries

I did all my grocery shopping the other day and was dismayed to find that prices continue to go up. To make matters worse, in some cases the price increase is disguised by smaller packaging, which just makes me mad that food companies think we’re so stupid that we don’t realize what they’ve done.

For instance, a can of tuna is now 5 oz. I have recipes from when I was a newlywed (back in 1979) that refer to a 7 oz. can of tuna. So now, when I double a recipe using tuna, I have to buy three cans of tuna, not two. Do they think I don’t notice this?

As I’ve written elsewhere, I do the usual things to combat inflation. I bought 10 pounds of ground beef when it was on sale, cooked up 3 pounds and froze it, and froze the rest raw for meatloaf, etc. I watch all prices and only buy items when they’re on sale for a good price (as opposed to “sale prices” that are actually regular-price items placed on the sale aisle with a big sign, which is why we need to know our prices).

But as each grocery shopping trip reveals higher prices, I’m thinking I need to add a new tactic, one that makes sense but that I hadn’t really thought about in recent years: we need to eat less.

So instead of freezing one-pound packages of meat, I’m freezing ¾-pound packages, figuring a little smaller hamburger patty won’t hurt any of us. I’m putting fewer chicken pieces in each bag before I freeze it. I’m making cookies and rolls a wee bit smaller than usual.

This will make the food I buy last longer, and will hopefully help me shed a little weight, too. It’s healthier, and it also goes back to the way we lived when I was a child.

For instance, my grandmother used to split a can of pop between four of us kids. Each one’s share barely filled a juice glass (and we knew better than to ask for seconds!) Her logic was that pop wasn’t good for us so we shouldn’t have too much.

In an age of 32-oz. soda cups in fast-food restaurants, I think our society has lost that sense of limiting ourselves. But the era of unrestrained appetites may be coming to an end, thanks to inflation. I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

Previous posts on saving money that you may have missed:

Exercises in Frugality

Exercises in Frugality, Part 2

Exercises in Frugality, Part 3

Exercises in Frugality, Part 4

Exercises in Frugality, Part 5

8 thoughts on “A “New” Old Tactic for Saving Money on Groceries

  1. I’m a coupon clipper. I see grocery shopping as a game. Like you, I try to stock up when certain items are on sale, but I try to match sale items with coupon savings. It’s how I channel my competitive side! :-)

    Speaking of shrinkage, I notice that the soap bars are starting to get smaller. They are particularly sneaky with it too. The bars themselves look the same size as always, but they sink in at the sides and in the middle. I think the soap manufacturers would say it is contoured and easier to handle.

    Peace and Laughter!

  2. Cristina, I admire hardcore coupon users. I too try to match up coupons with sale items, but don’t have the time that I once did to do it. I do love when it works well. Now my daughter is getting addicted to it :)

    As for soap, we’re still going through our stash so I haven’t bought any lately. Why does it surprise me that they’re changing the shape to save money? Sheesh…..

  3. I don’t buy many food items with coupons either, Carol. But I do get some good deals on health and beauty items and paper goods thanks to coupons. As for cutting portions, we’re trying but it ain’t easy….

  4. What I’ve been doing lately is making my own bread, bread crumbs, pancakes, etc. Also being a lot more mindful of eating what we have on hand, instead of running to the store for extra this or that. I don’t know what I would do without Aldi store. My hope is to be able to make 90-95% of meals from scratch. We raise chickens for eggs and meat. We have a well stocked freezer from the pigs we raised. We’ll be starting our vegetable gardens soon. We are now down to one income, so trying to make things work for a family of five. So, I’m open to plenty of ideas and suggestions!

  5. I think our family should cut our portion sizes too, but I wouldn’t necessarily tell my husband my plan for that! He likes to eat generous portions, so this change will have to be in baby steps, I suppose.

  6. Another thing that I do is grow my own herbs and some veggies. We cook mostly from scratch and a packet of fresh herbs at the store is $4.00. I can buy a packet of seeds for $2.00 ish and have enough of that herb to supply all year, plus dry out my own dried herbs and/or freeze. Plus it just feels good to run outside and cut what I need for dinner. You can’t beat the quality!

  7. Jane, it sounds like you’re well on your way. I’m with you, I love Aldi. Been going there since I was in college. Re: portions, when you make stews perhaps you could increase the proportion of veggies vs. meat? That’s great that you’ve raised chickens and pigs. You know where your meat came from: how many of us can say that?

    Liz, think of how much money you’re saving compared to buying fresh herbs in the grocery. We have a couple of pots of basil that get picked a lot. When we were homeowners, I used to run out to the yard to grab some dill or a tomato. Sure miss those days!

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies :)

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