on food costs does not
involve one magic silver bullet.
It comes as the result of doing many things a little better.
Here are some senior suggestions.
Seniors, Senior Citizens,
those noisy Boomers, and concerned caregivers, have
submitted the following tips for saving on food, eating
tastier, healthier meals.
What are YOUR food tips?
Spotting high-salt foods isn't always easy, since many
pass the "taste test."
High-sodium foods do not
necessarily taste salty, because sodium is used not just for
taste but as a preservative, flavor enhancer and for
texture. More than 75 percent of the sodium Americans
consume comes from processed food, not the salt shaker on
the table. That much salt in the American diet increases the
risk of hypertension, the AMA noted in its initiative, which
recommends that the federal government add warning labels on
food high in salt and that the food industry cut the amount
of salt used in processed foods and restaurant fare.
Americans consume 4,000 to 6,000 milligrams of sodium per
day, while the maximum daily consumption of sodium set by
the American Heart Association is 2,300 milligrams (1,500
milligrams for those with high blood pressure or those at
high risk for hypertension).
Read labels carefully. Here
are some foods to watch: Baked beans,
Canned vegetables, Breakfast cereals, Hot chocolate, Pizza,
Ready Meals, Soups, Lunch Meats, Baked goods--including
cookies. Even some skinless,
boneless chicken breasts are injected with salt as a
preservative. Frozen fish can be loaded.
2. Buy what is on
sale, not what you feel like eating today. You may
feel like eating it tomorrow.
3. Buy the family
pack, even if you are just one person. Boneless
skinless chicken breasts may be $3.49/lb for two pieces, but
in a 10lb pack they go on sale at my market for $1.99/lb.
Separate the order
into one-serving sized freezer zip bags, or split the
order with a friend. Shop with your friend and save.
4. I make spaghetti sauce from Aldi sauce (it is
for low fat, and add peppers, onions or whatever. Freeze
individual portions. At Aldi, be prepared to bag your own
groceries, and they do not accept checks. The selection is
limited, but the quality I find to be excellent. Your
savings can be substantial. 50% on many items
5. Buy store brands.
They are usually as good as the brands, and are often made
by a brand you recognize. I have been disappointed on rare
occasion by a store brand. So compare for yourself.
In fact, some store brands,
also known as private-label brands, are produced by the same
big-name companies churning out the products you know and
Always Buy these Five Foods Generic:
6. Stop into dollar
stores. They are everywhere now. Only do this if you
can resist the temptation to load up the cart with things
you don't need. Otherwise the savings on cleaning products,
toothbrushes, some house wares and a few foods can add up.
7. Buy frozen fish. It is
usually frozen at
its freshest. I have noticed that sometimes it is too
salty, something we often need to avoid. Wash it well.
Watch for sales.
Have some fun here with funny food quotes.
9. When our family goes to any restaurant, we
never order drinks or desserts. We can save more than a buck
a person simply by drinking only water, which is healthier
for you anyway. We also don't order desserts which are very
expensive. Instead, we go to the store and purchase a
whole large dessert
for the same price as one dessert at the restaurant.
Linda Namenye, MI
10. When I make soup stock, I
freeze the stock in
ice cube trays, and then put the cubes into a freezer
bag. That way, I can defrost just as much as I need and I
11. Comparison shop. Now it
is more important than ever. The big store with the fancy deli and bakery
is nice, but might be
33% to 100% higher than
lower cost markets like Aldi or WalMart. Sometimes the fancy market will
have things the others do not. We find we may not really need those items.
We buy specials there only when others don't have what we need, or when
there is a great sale..
12, When using things from the
refrigerator or freezer -
immediately and return the
The longer they remain outside - the more it cost to
recool. Pennywise, Carl S.
http://www.restaurant.com/ Save money on local
or distant restaurants.
14. When eating out,
ask if the
restaurant offers any senior specials. I have been
stopping at Taco Bell each Wednesday for lunch. I
ordered two spicy chicken burritos and a small drink.
$2.73. I tallied the items and said, "That can't be
enough, surely." "No charge for the drink", she said
with a smile. I just thought it was a special promotion.
On my third trip I was charged for the drink. I asked if
the promotion was over. "We didn't have a drink
promotion", I was told. When I told them about my earlier
experiences, I was told that they do not charge seniors
citizens for their drink! I guess the third person thought
I looked younger. Alright!!!
Was this a policy of our local Taco Bell, or
15, Here is a link to the
Foods on the Planet":
I find that most of these
foods are ones I eat regularly, and none of them are
unappealing! Rivahcat -
16. If you use tomato
paste and the recipe requires only a tablespoon or so,
freeze the rest.
Put a tablespoon in each ice-cube tray compartment, and
once they're frozen, put
them in a
plastic bag in your freezer. How convenient is
that? Rivahcat, Virginia (SeniorArk
thinks this might work for other liquid products as
17. f there is a
restaurant you are just crazy to try...
go there at
lunch rather than dinner. You will get the
same food for
much less than you will pay at dinner-time.
house brands at your local supermarket! I
worked (30+ years ago) for a local food distribution
company, for the "private label" buyer. The best thing I got
from that job was the knowledge that
house/private label brands are made by well-known, national
manufacturers! And the stores whose house brands you
buy are very concerned that you are happy, so if you get
something that is not pleasing, TELL THEM. They will at
least refund your money, but often they will give you the
equivalent in a national brand as recompense. I personally
have never had a house brand I've been displeased with. Your
mileage may vary. But
SPEAK OUT! Do you realize that if 2-3% of a company's
sales base complain, the company will alter the product
accordingly? That's because they know that for every
person who takes the time to complain, there are probably
5-7 others who simply take their business elsewhere. So raise hell! Rivahcat,
is such a bargain... but so many complain that it tastes
"stale". Here's a tip for frozen fish:
thaw it in milk.
For some reason,
it makes that frozen
fish taste so much
more like fresh! Keep in mind that the Omega
oils are very beneficial for health, so fish should be a
staple on our menus. I have a recipe for moist, tender
fish that will make boring fish luscious: Melt
butter or margarine. Dip fish fillets in the
butter/margarine, then into crushed Ritz (tm) crackers, or
a house-brand substitute. Bake at 450 degrees for 15
minutes per inch-thickness of fish. YUM!! (Yes, you can
substitute heart-healthy oil and low-fat crackers; just be
sure to use "buttery" crackers like Ritz [tm] or
equivalent house brands to get the delicious taste!)
20. Many grocery stores have
delivered one or two specific days of the week. Find
out if that is so at yours, and plan to shop one of those
days for the best, and freshest selections. Paul V. St
21. We all
worry about our
weight as we get older. Restaurants serve huge
portions, but you don't have to fall prey to that
temptation! Diets aren't always the easy way to maintain a
healthy weight for senior health. Eating less can be.
Use the salad plate
for meals rather
than the dinner plate; less surface, less food. Your
system will soon adapt to this decrease and 'less' will be
filling! You'll see the excess pounds melt slowly away.
Couple this with a walk each day and you will look and feel
22. Take a
to the grocery store with you.
Decide in advance
what you will spend today.
Tally up the items
you place in your cart. If you pass your goal, but
still need other items, decide what you can put back, and
deduct this from your total.
23. Never buy by item.
Buy by unit price.
Manufacturers are clever at making a product look larger
than the next one. How much does the product cost by
ounce, pound, or internal count? Most large grocery
chains now post the unit price with the product. But take a
calculator, because even this can be deceiving.
24. People look at
for different reasons. But whatever the reason, many
consumers would like to know how to use this information
more effectively and easily.
Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label is a great
explanation done by the Food and Drug Administration.
25. One of my favorite
www.coupons.com. On that website
you can find over a hundred coupons for many of the products you buy.
They're fairly easy to find.
Once I spot the coupons I
want, I print them, cut them out, and head to the store.
Never go grocery
shopping if you are exceptionally hungry, you tend to
way over buy and get things that are "eye candy" and not all
that good for you.
Edie in WA
27. Consider using
whole, natural foods.
Once upon a time, most of us ate eggs from free-range
chickens kept by small, local producers. But today, agri-culture
has become dominated by agri-business. Most of our food now
comes from large-scale producers who rely on chemical
fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs, and inhumane
confinement animal production. American agribusiness is
producing more food than ever before, but the evidence is
building that the vitamins and minerals in that food are
declining. For example, eggs from free-range hens contain up
to 30 percent more vitamin E, 50 percent more folic acid and
30 percent more vitamin B-12 than factory eggs. And the
bright orange color of their yolks show higher levels of
Read more about whole foods, and
whole food recipes.
28. The food package may say
"no trans fat", but read it carefully.
Trans fats are being
looked at very carefully for their part in clogging the
arteries. They may be present in foods you would
never suspect. Even in foods that say they have none. What
are the foods that usually contain trans fat, and how can
they be avoided?
29. Read about those sneaky
First we heard about saturated fats.
Then it was poly-unsaturated fats.
Then Mono-unsaturated fats.
about trans fat.,
and the foods where we find and don't find them.
30. Starbucks may be the
world's largest coffee shop chain in the world, but what
they serve isn't as
good as what McDonald's brews, Consumer Reports
says." McD's also
beat Burger King and
The magazine called the fast food giant's Premium Roast
"cheapest and best.... Your SeniorARK editor agrees. I
love coffee, and go out of my way to buy this new McDonalds
brew. I wish they had some decent food to go along with it.
Between-Meal Nibbles Under 100 Calories Each
32. Every great
once-in-a-while SeniorARK will outright endorse a product.
Today we have two.
1. If you must restrict your
salt and/or calories, have a look at
Progresso low sodium
soup. I am not a soup fan, but the chicken noodle has
become one of my favorite lunches. 90 calories for a cup,
470 mg sodium, and low fat. We pay $1.69 for a two-cup can
at Wal-Mart. (this week was on special 2/$3)
am a chunky peanut butter nut (pun intended). I wonder if
years of consumption of the trans-fat laden stuff
contributed to my heart bypass surgery. If the product says
"partially hydrogenised" then there is trans fat in it. It
makes the consistency of the product more palatable, but it
also clogs the arteries, perhaps more than cholesterol. I
would occasionally buy Smuckers natural, but it was
expensive, and liquid at the top, but very hard at the
bottom. You had to do a messy job of stirring the whole jar
in order to get it right. But now
come out with a no-trans fat natural
creamy and chunky
variety. It costs about $2 for 18 oz. It is better
blended than Smuckers, and less expensive. Hope it is as
healthy as advertised. It's good!
33. Get in the habit of
taking a drink with
you when you leave the house for an extended period.
You will get thirsty, and you can easily spend in excess of
a dollar for plain coffee, a soft drink, or even just plain
you cook spaghetti, put the water in the pan and then the
spaghetti and put a lid on it.
When it boils, turn
it off and time for 10 minutes, keeping the lid on
it. This saves energy and money by not keeping the stove on
the whole time the spaghetti boils.
35. Great section of frugal
recipes (and they sound delicious)
Professional Tips for saving big on groceries.
37. Many of us love the
banana. Now it is shown how healthy it can be.
18 Healthy Things a Banana Can Do for You
38. - Limit your use of
coupons. Coupons usually apply to name-brand items Ė which
cost more than lesser-known brands Ė and convenience foods.
Use a coupon if the item is on sale Ė or you were planning
to buy that brand anyway.
- Plan your weekly menu around the sale items on the grocery
fliers. This one step can trim 35 percent off your grocery
- Cook several meals at once and freeze them. Batching
reduces your tendency to eat out when youíre busy, and will
save preparation time and money when you buy groceries in
Elaine, Charleston, WV
39. Two great articles on
saving money on food from the Frugal Yankee:
Supermarket's Dirty Little Secrets Pt. 1
Supermarket's Dirty Little Secrets Pt. 2
40. So you need to go FRUGAL?
Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living
41. Gift cards: If you
know that you will be shopping regularly at Wal-Mart, or
another retailer, restaurant, gas station, then you can save
a few extra percentage points on your goods by purchasing
gift cards on the
secondary market. Gift cards are sold at a discount on
sites like eBay,
because the person who received them wants cash instead of
store credit. If you check for gift cards being sold on the
secondary market on a regular basis, you should be able to
knock an additional 5 percent or more off the cost of your
42. On the "Dollar Stretcher"
web site, we read an article about starting a PRICE BOOK. In
an article entitled
Price Book 101, author Amy Allen Clark writes, "A price
book will make you the smartest consumer in the store
because you will actually know whether or not an item really
is on sale or not."
43. When picking out products,
always remember to
scan the bottom and top shelves. The products the
store makes the most money on -- which usually means the
more expensive ones -- are chest-high, where they are easy
to see and reach. You
will save money!
Check your receipt:
Don't trust the scanners, because a lot of unintentional
pricing mistakes can happen, especially in stores where they
change prices often. Take a quick look before you leave to
make sure you weren't overcharged. This is true for grocery
stores as well as any type of store that scans barcodes.
45. Plan a weekly menu
based on the store
circulars so that you don't have to go to the
supermarket as frequently, and you can buy what is on sale
When it comes to both food and medicines, we tend to treat
package expiration dates as advisory guidelines rather than
hard and fast limits. We've been known to willingly eat
foods well past that limit if we're reasonably certain that
spoilage hasn't occurred. Really, I ask you, how can hot
chocolate powder go bad? And as for sour cream, well, how
much more sour can it get? We tend to be a little more
circumspect when it comes to medications, but it's not
unheard of for us to use aspirin a year past its expiration.
23 Ways to Save on Groceries
From "the Bargainist"
Food is one of the biggest expenses, along with housing and
cars, in most people's budget. If you're looking for ways to
cut back on your budget, your food category should be one
thing you look at closely ó there's almost always ways to
reduce your spending here.
Watch where you walk
at the grocery store. Less expensive items are
typically placed around the outside of the market, itís
those middle aisles that hold the items that quickly add to
your bill. When you do need to dash down one of those
aisles, remember to look high and look low. Less expensive
items are usually placed near the top or bottom of the
shelves. The shelves that are eye-level are reserved for the
more expensive items.
Buy in bulk when you
can. Buying items in bulk that donít spoil, can save
money and save trips to the store. For staples and
nonperishable goods, stock up at good sale prices, or join a
warehouse club. If warehouse quantities are too much for
you, combine your list with a few other seniors and then
split the food to maximize your savings.
Thereís something thatís talked a lot about quite a lot
these days, and thatís food miles, or the miles a given
product has traveled by the time it reaches a consumer. With
the price of fuel and what it costs to buy a tractor
trailer, theoretically it would make it cheaper, so local
products might be a way to save. Try local farmer's markets,
and compare prices and quality.
51. Whatís really helped us limit the
amount of driving weíre doing these days is something Iíve
for years: keeping
stashes. To start a stash, you
buy two of every
item you use regularly in your household. This means
you always have a spare, and donít waste gas or time running
out for a last minute replacement. Besides, youíre going to
use the same amount of gas going back and forth to the store
whether you buy two bottles of ketchup or one. So why not
buy two? (Take this concept a step further by only buying
these items when theyíre on sale, and youíre now reducing
your grocery bills as well as the amount of gasoline that
you use.) One important thing to remember about stashes is
that they donít work if you donít remember to buy items
before you need them. J.M. Chicago
Two Web sites
to visit: www.grandpappy.info/indexhar.htm, which offers
tips on surviving tough times, and www.earthbox.com, a
product site that details how to build a high-yield,
53. As a general rule, purchasing food
in its least processed form, i.e. a whole chicken instead of
boneless skinless chicken breasts, is more economical.
Larger cuts or meat or bulk foods may also save you money if
you will use the items or properly store them until you need
them. It is not difficult to save money on food.
However, you may have to change some old habits. Take a look
at what you are doing now and how you are spending money and
decide today to take some small steps toward a new and
54. Take a close look at what you spend on food during a
week. Write down the amounts spent each time you purchase
any type of food or beverage from a restaurant, convenience
store, vending machine or grocery store. You might be
surprised as just how much money you spend each week on food
for yourself, your family, and others.
Do you often find yourself
wishing for a way to reduce your expenses? With this list of
suggestions for saving money at the supermarket, you can
expect to save a significant amount on your grocery bill and
free up some cash for savings, investment or fun!
16 ways to save money on your food bills, from the site
56. Did you know that the U.S.
Department of Labor estimates that the average American
family of four spends $8,513 per year on groceries?
A timely study by the Oklahoma State University,
Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,
gives an in-depth approach to saving money on those grocery
Cooking for yourself
can be fast and easy, as well as surprisingly cheap.
Try online recipe
finders for meals that
use what you already
have in your fridge. Make enough for a few days, and
then use the leftovers in sandwiches for work the rest of
You can cut your grocery bill by 20 percent by using a
grocery list and coupons.
2. With this shopping spree
buying private and generic label items saved this customer
3. You have to stoop and stretch for bargains when
4. Keeping your refrigerator and freezer on the
correct temperature. KHAS-TV 5
60. What to
do with those
left-over hot dog and hamburger buns.
Separate the bun in half and cut each half into thirds and
make French-toast sticks. They're even better when I have
leftover whole-wheat buns.
Layer the cut-up buns with either cheese and meat or
veggies of your choice. Mix eggs and milk, and pour over
the top and bake.
Toast hot-dog buns and make garlic bread. Add cheese if
Freeze leftover buns until you have six and make bread
pudding. Grease a small baking dish. Break the buns in
half and put them in the bottom of the baking dish. Melt a
stick of butter and pour it over the buns. Using a whisk,
mix together 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 Ĺ cups of
sugar and 2 cups of warmed milk. Pour over the top. Bake
for half an hour at 350 degrees.
them dry out and rip them up and use them for meatloaf.
We have discovered a site that claims to be able to compare
prices at various grocery stores in your area, based on this
week's flyer. We had a look at the site, and find it
interesting, but cannot represent it as correct or not. It
offers an ability to select the bargains you want to
consider, and will print out your shopping list. Check it
out to see what you think. Give us your opinion.
62. Own a
deep-freezer. Even a small chest freezer can make
a world of difference when it comes to spending money on
food. Buy meat in bulk when it's on sale and freeze what
won't be used in a week. Freeze nuts, cheese, breads, fish,
fruits and vegetables and anything else that might go bad.
Having a freezer full of food makes it easy to plan meals
and is a great safety net for those times when the
grocery money doesn't quite stretch through to the end of
63. Use a spatula.
Every professional chef knows that using a spatula can make
the difference between four meals and five. Scrape down the
inside of pots, containers and bowls to get everything
out. The food is already paid for--why not eat it?
64. There's a website where you
can print many of the regular Sunday paper coupons and then
stack pages of them and cut 9 or 12 out at a time. I
Coupons.com for deals. They feature over 150 coupons
that you just click on to add to a cart, and then when
you're ready to print, they print out 3 to a page. These
are good coupons too, for items like brand name cereal,
coffee, juice, pasta, detergent, etc.
The key to coupons is to not let the coupon sell you a
product. ONLY print
and use coupons for products you already intend to buy.
65. Look into ANGEL FOOD MINISTRIES. This is not
canned beans like a food bank. This is frozen meat and fruit
and vegatables. You have to pay for it. but it is very
good. Thanks to wdgroot.
did have a look, and it is very interesting, There are about
12 distribution centers within 15 miles of our hdqtrs. We
will check it out further and report. In the meantime, click
66. See article at
WalletPop's list of the top 10 overpriced products
you should avoid if you want to save money.
waiting for your tip here.
Or submit a useful
link for a links section.