How to Cut Your Grocery Bill

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You don’t need to be a coupon Queen to save money at the grocery store. Here are some useful tips to help cut your grocery bill in half!

Make a List
First and foremost, start with a list. Going to the grocery store without a plan of attack is a sure fire way to spending money on things you don’t need. Spend just a few minutes before heading out doing an inventory of what basics you need so you don’t double up on things you may already have.

Meal Plan
Figure out what meals you will be eating at home and plan ahead. Buy staple ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes, especially if they are pricier. Soups and stews are generally made on the cheap and taste even better the next day. Which brings us to…

Eat Your Leftovers
The biggest waste of money is not eating your leftovers. It’s literally like throwing money down the drain! Leftover soups and casserole reheat perfectly the next day for lunch and many leftovers can be repurposed into entirely new meals.

Check out some of our Test Kitchen leftover remix recipes:
Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple
Pot Roast Soup
Chicken Chili Stew

Don’t Shop Hungry
Ok, so you’ve made a list, picked out a menu, and even thought about leftovers. Now here’s a big tip: DON’T SHOP HUNGRY! Impulse buys can really throw you off your budget game and more times than not they are driven by hunger. Plus sugary processed snack foods can be very expensive. So have an apple before shopping and keep away from the snack aisle. (Also, while you’re at it, put down that glossy celebrity magazine! You can find the same article for free online.)

Eat Seasonally
A very simple and easy way to save money on your grocery bill is to shop for seasonal and local produce, which is often much less expensive than the out of season tomatoes that are being shipped in from South America and other far off places (which is bad for both your wallet and the environment). A good tip is buying fruits and vegetables when in season and then preserving by either canning or freezing. Here are some handy tips on preserving fruits and vegetables that will help you enjoy year round savings:
Freezer Basics
Home Canning 101

Start a Garden
If you have some of your own outdoor space, why not grow your own vegetables? Even a small plot can yield a great harvest and there’s no cheaper way to eat then by growing your own. Gardening is also a great stress reliever. Paula loves gardening with Jack and uses it as an opportunity to teach him about nutrition.

Buy Store Brands
Store brands are often the same ingredients and quality of brand name items, just without the fancy logo. Why pay for the marketing of a product- just buy the product!

Trim the Meat
Meat is often the most expensive item in your grocery cart. Cutting back even once a week will not only help our wallets, but also improve our health. Of course, easier said than done, so try less expensive cuts of meat like flank steak, oxtails, brisket, pork shoulder, or chicken thighs. These cuts are extremely flavorful when cooked low and slow. 

What’s your favorite tip for savings? Tell us in the comments below!

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Reader Comments:

54321

Hi Paula, you always give us such wonderful ideas and recipes and I am so thankful for that. One way that I have learned to save TONS of money is by shopping at my local Farmers Market, I am always remarking to my husband how much money I simply wasted over the years buying things at the closest grocery store. We are planning on starting our own garden next spring to cut back even more. Another thing we are doing is we created our own compost pile so that we will have our own natural and organic soil instead of purchasing expensive bags from the hardware store. I have also moved away from buying premade items and I look for recipes to use to make everything homemade from scratch. You have really inspired me to make so many different things and have shown me that it isn't hard at all! Thanks Paula, keep on doing what your doing and I'll keep following you!

By Stacey Hackney on August 06, 2013

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Dear Paula, Hold on to your family and your faith in God Who is a very present help in time of trouble!! He is with you NOW and will never leave you or forsake you. I watched your shows everyday, especially the 5pm program, while I cooked supper. My husband came home every night to supper with you in our kitchen. Now I can't enjoy the Food Network. When they judge the Next Food Network Star I see them as judges over your situation and it all just seems so mean spirited. You told the TRUTH, Paula and God will honor that. You should start your own show of all things southern, kind of like Southern Living magazine, Paula Deen style!! You could show your gardening, chickens, cooking, decorating, family, EVERYTHING SOUTHERN!! I love you, Paula. You're going to make it. You tell Jamie and his family and Bobby and Michael that I love them too and we're praying for you. I wish I could give you a big hug. Ask Michael to give you one from me.

By Karla Randall on July 21, 2013

54321

Your spirit and strength are a blessing to all of us out here and we are praying for favor and for your continued health and happiness. My favorite memories as a child in the late 1940's are my father taking me and my two sisters blackberry picking. The berries grew wild in the Cleveland suburb we lived in. Then Mom would make jelly or pie. Yum! We always had a garden and our fruit cellar was full of everything from pickels to jam, even made sauerkraut and dandelion wine. Well, things have changed a lot since then and growing my own food and canning are only memories now. I am currently working on a family cookbook to give to my two granddaughters. As far as tips for shopping, my favorite is don't shop hungry, having been guilty of that many times. Our local food market offers buy one get one free on various items. I only buy what I can use and save a lot. I also ask the meat department for beef shank with the round bone, the same as they put out to buy for our dogs but with meat on the bone. I use this to make beef soup. After cooking the meat and removing it from the bone, my dog gets the bone anyway. This is the only safe bone to give to a dog since it doesn't shatter and as long as it's too large to swallow whole. I also get turkey wings for soup or to cook with gravy and rice. I like to make large batches of whatever I cook, and freeze individual servings. This comes in handy later when I'm in a hurry with no time to cook. Better than fast food and much healthier since we control what goes into it.

By Dolly David on July 16, 2013

54321

Paula: Hold tight...your many fans are on your side...and Food Network is now my LEAST favorite channel - and I MISS YOU! I planned my day around your shows! I've attended 2 of your cooking classes and had a BALL at each one! God bless you and your wonderful family!

By Sybil Buckland on July 13, 2013

54321

Hello, Paula....After eating a delicious meal once, and possibly again as a leftover meal, I have found that while I might be too tired to eat it again, I keep my used whipped butter containers and put the leftovers in them, label with tape, and put it in the freezer. If I don't feel like cooking, I look through my labeled containers in the freezer and ALWAYS find a tub filled with already-cooked delicious dinner. Chicken Marsala, beef tips in wine sauce over rice and leftover homemade chicken and gravy are downright wonderful after heated and served within ten minutes with a fresh salad and iced tea. No more food tossed out! You have, also, squeezed out another meal that tastes so good.

By Claudine on July 13, 2013

54321

I like to check the dollar stores you can get some good stuff there but keep an eye out some things are more there than other places. also the family packs are usually a good deal then break them up for your family size.

By Zina on July 13, 2013

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I love this site, lots of helpful tips. I am one of those that always go to the store hungry and never make a list. I am going to try your helpful hints next time. Are you coming back to Tampa, Florida anytime soon? I missed you when you were here last time and I was so disappointed. Keep your chin up and remember God is at your side.

By cathy miller on July 13, 2013

54321

I support Paula Deen Pat Smith

By Patricia Smith on July 13, 2013

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Paula, could you give some tips on freezing a variety of fresh herbs? I started an herb garden this year and I want to save what I can to use until next year. I just love the smell and taste of fresh herbs and it is soooo much cheaper than buying the ones at the grocery. And by the way, I really miss your show and I support you 100%! We love you Paula! God is by your side.

By Peggy Elam on July 13, 2013

54321

My favorite hint was gardening. It is a stress relief and really saves you money. I have made 12 loaves of Zucchini Bread and canned 21 quarts of Green Beans. I also have 7 bags of Peas in the freezer. All from my garden and it is still early in the season. will get my first red tomato this week. Paula thanks for all your recipes and helpful tips. Also made 12 jars of Strawberry preserves. Local berries not from my garden. When we have a foot of snow this will taste so good.

By Charyk Fuller on July 12, 2013

54321

Things like toothpaste, shaving cream, paper goods, snacks, bottled water and carbonated drinks are usually less expensive at Walmart, Target and name brand dollar stores. Just buy food items (meat, produce and frozen foods) at the grocery store.

By Barbara Vickery on July 12, 2013

54321

Go with your basic prepared list, and then be flexible and let the grocery store decide what you are eating this week! Buy butcher's specials, local produce and use coupons and most of all...don't go to the store hungry! Love you Paula!

By Marcia Mack on July 12, 2013

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I Love receiving this email from you. I LOVE all your recipes. I think you are an Amazing Woman. You are a Strong Woman & will come out of this fiasco that Food Network & those other short-sided companies have caused you, smelling like a Rose- which you are. I support you 1,000%. God Bless You, Paula. I would Love to meet you, a Beautiful Lady.

By Liz Whelan on July 12, 2013

54321

We LOVE you Paula Deen and we will be by your side the whole way.

By Frankie Pollino on July 12, 2013

54321

Loving your newsletter and recipes Paula Deen!!! Keep your head high and God bless you and your family with unending strength...you have my support! At the grocery store, I try to stick to outside aisles and only buy produce, proteins, dairy and bread, this way I'm not tempted to buy high calorie snacks!

By Cheryl T. on July 12, 2013

54321

My favorite tip for saving on the grocery bill is finding recipes ( or making them up) that use what I have on hand! Some of our best meals comes from being creative. Hamburger steaks & homestyle mashed potatoes with side of green beans, top the HBO steaks with brown gravy & you got a delicious & filling meal.

By Anonymous on May 29, 2013

54321

I buy a brick of cheddar and grate it myself rather than buying it shredded (money saver there) - I use a bouillion cube or two dissolved in water rather than store bought stock ($$) and I've nearly always got dried beans soaking to turn into something we love rather than buying canned. I grow a garden and freeze the produce, and I can fruit when it's on sale. I make my own jams and jellies. Gave up the bread machine and now and then I'll bake bread the old fashioned way. Granted I'm retired and there are only 2 of us now, but old habits die hard! Using muscles rather than electricity keeps me strong and the bills lower, too smile Enjoy your shows, and have several of your cookbooks. Keep up the good work!

By Anonymous on October 19, 2012

54321

I like to buy whole chickens when they are on sale. Sometimes 5-10 depending on what meals I want to make. I will cut up the chickens into individual pieces, skin and debone, and freeze the chicken parts depending on what meals I want to prepare. My husband loves when I do this, because that means he gets to have chicken livers one night for supper. Paula I love you, your family and you food. I live with diabetes and anklosying spandilitis everyday and it is a struggle. I will celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary the 27th of this month and you have inspired me to take better care of myself and to finally get control of my weight. I have joined weightwatchers and having the points system has been helping. I just want to say thanks so much for being an inspiration to us all. Jennifer

By jennifer on October 12, 2012

54321

I have been married for 37 years. My mother-in-law taught me that planning meals for two weeks and do your shopping off of that will save you money and time. I have been doing that for 37 years and it works. I have been watching you for a long time and have learned lots of valuable information and techniques as well as wonderful recipes. I love to cook and you are the one responsible for that. Thank you for your inspiration and your wonderful personality. You always make me smile. I was in the grocery store (HEB) in College Station, TX about a month ago and in the produce department I heard a woman say "that's Paula Dean!". I look around to see where and she was looking right at me! She got so excited. I told her that unfortunately I was not Paula Dean but thank you for the complement. I have been told often that I look like you. What a wonderful thing.

By Debbie Grimes on October 04, 2012

54321

One of my family's favorite meal is my left over rolls. Any meat will work, chicken, roast, pork chops, etc. I cut the meat in slivers, put it on a tortilla, add some grated cheese, roll it up like a burrito and fry it up. There is no need for extra seasonings since you are using meat you already flavored. I usually serve it with rice and a veggie. Meat never goes to waste in my house!

By corrina beard on October 04, 2012

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love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I just want to say this I don't even know if is the right page all I ever wanted to say to Paula Deen welcome back I have missed you. You are my favorite home down girls keep your head up and hang on and feel the love. P.S. from a woman of color.
in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am