When my wife and I retired we knew we were going to have to make a few lifestyle changes. We prepared for retirement but we also did some preparation where we could eat a healthier diet while still saving money at the grocery store. Here are some tips that we use at our local grocer.

Loss Leaders and Sales

One of the first things we did was purchase an upright frost-free freezer. We passed on the manual defrost chest type. Meat is a grocery list killer so we wanted to make sure that we take advantage of meat sales of pork, beef, chicken and fish. Keep an eye on the papers for 50-75% off on various kinds of meat and buy when those happen.

We also bought a Seal-A-Meal food saver and we freeze cheese, bread, bacon, etc. in airtight freezer bags. Meats come out of the bag nice and pink rather than brown. And, it’s great for freezing leftovers.

Adapt Your Recipes

We are also compiling a home cookbook. When we find a recipe on the net we print it out. But sometimes there are ingredients that don’t make sense for us to buy. If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of heavy cream what do we do with the rest? The answer is we modify the recipe and substitute and see if we are happy with the results.

How to Pick and Choose

Some things are cheaper buying them unpackaged. Usually things like mushrooms, apples (I like Red Delicious), and oranges are cheaper buying them loose. Things like potatoes, carrots, and celery are cheaper packaged or bagged.

Generic and store brands are almost always cheaper than name brands. There are some brands that I’m not willing to compromise on but most of the time the generic is just as good as the name brand. If the name brand is on sale or if there is a coupon available then I’m stocking up.


Many of the recipes we find are for four or more people. That means that is we make that dish the two of us are going to have leftovers. With our food saver we can package those and freeze them or we can have them for lunch the next day.

Anything you throw out adds to the total cost of your food bill. We try to salvage everything we can.

Simple Pleasures

There are simple things you can do with meals that add health and provide added taste. If you are not allergic adding ground walnuts or almonds to salads, sprinkled over green beans, can add some inexpensive variety to mealtime. Onions and mushrooms can add taste to a less expensive cut of meat.

Be Price Conscious

Store pricing is always in a state of flux. Milk, eggs, chicken breasts, tuna all go up and down in price. While we try to stick to a list, a sale is a sale and it will get our attention. I like most vegetables so green beans, peas, corn, carrots, spinach, or asparagus will go in the cart based on the best bang for our buck.

Some Final Thoughts

Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep an eye on your inventory and shopping smart will save a lot in the long run. Being sale conscious and buying in bulk when prices warrant will give you great nutritional meals for about the same as prepackaged processed food. What are some of your favorite shopping tips?

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