Extreme Ways to Decrease Your Grocery Bill

When you can’t afford your groceries, it’s time to take desperate action

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Photo by Maria Lin Kim on Unsplash

Lately, I’ve noticed my grocery bill has gotten much more expensive. I haven’t done anything differently in my shopping habits, so maybe it’s the pandemic or supply and demand, or regular inflation. Whatever, I am at a point where I’m thinking of taking some extreme measures to decrease my grocery bill.

All of these ways are EXTREME. It takes a lot of time to actively do these tips. You must weigh the time (and money) cost with the benefits.

Plant a garden

I already have garden beds in my yard and am teaching myself how to grow my own food. Anyone can do this, even if it’s a little bit of space in your small apartment.

I’m choosing very easy plants that thrive in my region, and the things I love to eat. My goal is to have a most of my yard for growing food.

The time I’ve put into the garden is more satisfying than the time I have to work for grocery money and to go to the store masked up, dealing with an overworked and under-appreciated store clerk, hauling my groceries in and out of the basket, the car, and the house. I’d much rather spend my time outside, mask-free, watering, and nurturing my plants. And it gives me a great thrill to pick my produce and prepare it for my family.

Caveat: There’s a startup cost for making a garden and growing fruits and veggies. It takes time and money to get it started.

Get chickens

Yes, I have chickens. I am starting to get eggs from them, finally. Eggs are a staple in my diet, and I don’t like buying the mass-produced eggs from chickens kept in little cages and abused. So, I spend more money on better eggs, sometimes up to $7 at the store, $10 if I buy directly from a hen owner.

As with a garden, the startup costs are high. The maintenance is also more, but if you want a pet, chickens make great pets. They are quirky, have personality, and will let you hold and cuddle them if you train them (okay, I’m weird. I know).

I believe I’ll eventually earn back the money I spent from my egg-layers. If I have too many, I may even sell them to pay for feed and bedding.

Caveat: A startup cost to raise chickens can be costly: getting chickens, a coop, enclosed chicken run, feed equipment, and supplies. Plus, expect some chickens not to make it to mature adulthood, mostly because of sickness and predators. One of my chickens was killed by a cat when she was still a youngster.

Extreme Couponing

Clipping coupons appealed to me when I was younger, a single mom with two children. However, it required a newspaper and time to go through and see what was worth it. Most of the time, I found coupons that were minimal and not what I’d usually buy. So, I stopped wasting my time.

Now, there’s an entirely new way of couponing that can be profitable and save money on your staple grocery items. This hobby can save you a lot of money if you know what you’re doing. For a better understanding and guidance in learning to use extreme couponing, look at resources. Extreme couponers can give you some tips and tricks to make it more palpable.

Caveat: This is a huge learning curve and one where you may become frustrated. The best way to benefit the most is to stick with your staples, and one store, and learn how to save at the store you shop the most. Once you’ve mastered that, branch out a bit and see where else you can save money.

“Harvest” your meat — or become vegetarian

Hunters use the word harvest to describe what they do to get food: hunt or fish animals, as we have done for millennia. For meat eaters, buying meat at the grocery store is expensive, and behind that meat is ugliness. Corporate farming mistreats animals, and we eat the energy of that, even if we don’t see it. We can harvest our meat more humanely, or change where we buy our meat, eat less meat, or don’t eat meat at all. This is a personal choice, for sure.

Caveat: Hunting and fishing can be extreme in itself. Some people gear up to the Nth degree, spending thousands of dollars. This is cost-prohibitive and likely more for the sport of it than for food. You need a license to hunt and fish, which can be costly.

There are many extreme ways to save money. Then there are other ways, like budgeting for your food bill, finding sales, making a grocery list and sticking to it. However, if you can decide you want to use some extreme ways to save money, make sure you really like doing it. It will take your time instead of your money, and your time is much more important than your money.

Written by

Advocate for Women / Editor of The Virago

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