Can You Be a Frugal Foodie?

It’s Spring Break here. Can you tell? Logan is out of school, the weather is gorgeous, and we had a friend visiting for a few days (she went home last night), so there hasn’t been much time for blogging this week. I was thrilled when my friend Jessica offered to write a guest post for goodLife {eats} about being frugal in the kitchen. Jessica is super sweet and a great source of information for those aiming for frugality. Thank you, Jessica!

Jessica Fisher, aka FishMama, is a busy mother of six children, making her home in San Diego. She regularly writes about fun, family, and frugality at LifeasMOM and shares “delicious ways to act your wage” at GoodCheapEats. Currently, she’s hosting a series on How to Build a Frugal Pantry.

Once upon a time in a land of double incomes and no kids, I regularly spent hundreds of dollars a week to feed my husband and me. Honey, feel like fresh tomato salsa tonight? No problem. I just bought the hot-house tomatoes. If chicken sounded good, I was happy to spend six dollars a pound on boneless, skinless breasts. After all, we were foodies living in Santa Barbara, CA, a city of fantastic eating. Money was no object.

Mix in six children, a dozen years, and a down economy and my grocery habits had to change — or we would be eating gruel in the poor house with Oliver Twist! Did we resort to boxed mac and cheese and cheap hot dogs?

No! With a little savvy coupon clipping and a little grocery store education, I’ve been able to prepare delicious meals for our family that fill our tummies and fit the budget.

Here’s how you can, too.

1. Purchase in season — By tailoring your menus to in-season produce and cuts of meat, you can drastically reduce your grocery bill. Fruits and vegetables will taste better, and you’ll have a better selection.

photo source: here

2. Practice anticipation buying — There are some items that you know you will use, pantry staples. When you see those products on sale, or marked down on clearance, snatch them up. Loss leaders are great things to stock up on. Buy as much as you can reasonably store, so that when you need it, you won’t be paying full price.

3. Follow manufacturer’s you love — If you’re a foodie, then there are probably certain ingredients that you prefer. Search for those products on the web. Chances are that company has a Facebook fan page or an e-newsletter. Sign up and receive advance news on coupons and special promotions.

4. Clip coupons — Many people have the misconception that coupons are only for junk food. Au contraire! In fact, many gourmet and organic foods regularly offer coupons. Watch for them, collect those coupons and then match them to a sale for the best savings.

5. Look for markdowns — Often a grocer will discontinue a specialty item. When they do, they often let them go to the customer for a sweet deal. Keep your eyes open and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Frugality and great food can mix quite well. So well, in fact, that wise shopping habits will provide you with more of the good eats you love!

Do you have any tips to share? What are some of your favorite ways to be frugal in the kitchen? One of my favorite ways to save money is by planting a garden. We were really successful with that last year even though it was our first attempt at a backyard garden. If space is an issue, even a small potted herb garden can save quite a bit if you find yourself regularly spending money on fresh herbs. I also love shopping Double Ad Wednesday at Sunflower Farmer’s Market for great deals on produce.