When to Buy Prepared Food and Save
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When to Buy Prepared Food and Save

Posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 2:42 pm
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In general, I’ve always advised avoiding prepared foods when shopping to save. However, I can’t say I always follow my own advice. In fact, in all reality, it’s almost impossible to avoid buying prepared food all the time. In some cases purchasing prepared foods at the grocery store can actually save money.

When Buying Prepared Food is Okay

So, when should you buy prepared foods? If buying a prepackaged dinner or ready-made salad at the grocery store is going to stop you from eating out, then by all means, do it. Buying individually wrapped snacks is also a better bet than buying snacks from a vending machine or such.

How to Save When Buying Prepared Food

If your going to buy prepared food you might as well save money doing it, right? Here are some ways to save money on prepared food:

  • Look for coupons and sales. As always, using coupons on prepared foods will lower your bill. Also, make sure you look for sales before selecting a product to buy. There might be a similar product on sale for less.
  • Check the clearance section. Most grocery stores have a clearance section hidden away somewhere. Locate it and save big on prepared foods. You can usually find items marked down about 50% and some of the prepared foods you’ll find on clearance will cost less than their usually cheaper counterparts. You can also find some great clearance deals on foods in seasonal packaging post holiday season.
  • Buy in bulk. You can often find reasonable prices on prepared foods at the warehouse stores. If you can stock up on prepared foods for less, the go for it. If the warehouse store accepts coupons, even better!
  • Compare prices and check unit prices.


So, when buying prepared foods can save you money on more costly spending ventures (such as eating out) they aren’t necessarily a bad choice. Just remember to look for the best deals when shopping for prepared foods.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.