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6 Summertime Tips for Trimming the Grocery Budget

We’re all looking for ways to save money, and summertime is no different. Check out six simple tips for decreasing what you spend at the store this summer.

6 Ways to Save on Food This Summer

Shop Local and Save1. Shop Farmers Markets

The fresh and local movements are not only healthy but a cost-effective way to save money during the summer.  Our family visits the local farmers market every Saturday morning and enjoys the low-cost, healthier options available there.  It’s also great to talk to the people who grew and picked the fresh food you’re about to enjoy.  They can answer all kinds of questions and also make recipe suggestions so that you can maximize the enjoyment of these fresh, summertime treats.

2. Eat Vegan For A Week

Let’s face it,: the meat and dairy aisles at the grocery store are among the most expensive portions of your shopping trip.  Consider going vegetarian (or better yet vegan) for a week and see how the cost of your shopping can be reduced by eliminating these cost-heavy items.

3.  Try Ethnic Groceries

Have you ever visited an ethnic grocery store in your area?  Our family now makes regular stops at a local Indian grocery and finds that a week’s worth of grain staples (purchased in bulk) and some interesting and amazing fresh vegetables are astonishingly inexpensive.  I have a friend who primarily cooks Indian dishes for her family of four and often has a grocery bill of less than $40 each week!

4. Save Leftovers From Family Gatherings

During the summer, there seems to be endless invitations to cook outs, family gatherings, and picnics with friends and family.  It’s an American tradition to cook too much to feed everyone and, sadly, sometimes the leftovers go to waste.  Don’t let that happen!  Take some plastic zip-top bags with you and scavenge a few left overs that would otherwise go to waste.  You’ll be surprised at the extra meals your family will enjoy from the left overs of friends and family.

5. Harvest From Your Garden & Others

If you started a garden earlier in the year, you’re likely already be enjoying some low-cost treats right from your own back yard.  However, don’t avoid the generosity of other gardeners in your area.  (No, I’m not about to suggest that you pilfer potatoes from your neighbor’s garden.)  When our family visits my grandparents we almost always leave with a grocery sack full of tomatoes, green beans, fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and other organic vegetables.  My grandparents always plant more than they eat and they’re eager to share.  Take advantage of natures bounty!

6. Make Your Own Summertime Treats

Popsicles from the store aren’t terribly expensive, but there is an even less way to make great summertime icy treats for your family.  When you have left over koolaid or lemonade, simply pour it into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and insert toothpicks through the plastic wrap and deep into the ice cube tray.  Stick those in the freezer and in a few hours you’ll have some tasty, very inexpensive summertime treats.

What ways do you save money on shopping during the summer?


Image: Sira Anamwong

Wade is the father of a fifteen-year-old, a one-year-old and is expecting another baby very soon. He is the host of the "Fathers Over Forty" podcast. A former long-distance cyclist, weight loss guru and master gardener, Wade is sport-challenged, television-averse and constantly worried that his Man Cave pass might be revoked. When not at his full time job doing assistive technology for people with disabilities, he's reading, cooking, or spending time outdoors with his kids and his beautiful wife, Jenny. Connect with Wade at: or on Twitter at: @FOForty

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