There are many ways to save money on canned food. The easiest ways are to look for deals as advertised by your local grocery mart and clip coupons you can use to obtain canned food for even less. Buying in bulk is generally a good way to save money on canned food, too. And if you buy canned food out of season, you’ll be able to get it at a lower price.
- Buy in bulk. Certain stores like Sam’s Club enable you to save money by selling goods – including canned food – in bulk. You might have to buy a whole box of, for instance, canned peas, but the cost per can will be lower than it would be if you shopped at a regular grocery.
- You can often get bulk deals on a smaller scale at regular grocery stores. For instance, if you buy three cans of peas, you might pay one dollar per can, for a total of three dollars. But if you buy just one can of peas, you might pay $1.50 for a single can.
- Check the prices of canned goods as you shop, with an eye toward canned food that declines in price as you buy more.
- Use coupons. Many grocery stores issue coupon sheets to local residents. You may also be able to obtain coupons by visiting your local grocery store and looking for a coupon sheet available near the front of the store.
- Sign up for the “Shopper’s Club,” “Rewards Club,” or similar program at all your local grocery stores to ensure you receive the most up-to-date advertisement sheets in the mail or email.
- You might also be able to find useful coupons to save money on canned food through sites like Groupon.
- Look for sales. If you see canned foods you’re interested in on sale, buy them. Taking advantage of sales is a great way to save on canned food. Some stores have special sections where discounted goods are available.
- Pay attention to sales advertised on television and in your local paper to identify sales where you could save money on canned food.
- Buy canned foods out of season. Just like fresh foods, canned foods have peak selling seasons. Cranberry sauce, for instance, will cost more around Thanksgiving and Christmas. To save money, avoid buying canned foods that are in-season.
- Buy only store brands. Store brands – as opposed to name brands – are always cheaper. But when it comes to quality, there is rarely any difference. Check the lower shelves to locate store-brand canned food.
- Store brand canned food is often obtained from the same producer that name brands use. Both the store brand and the name brand just slap their own labels on the products and charge different prices.
- Buy a family-size can. Family-size cans are larger than regular cans, but are less expensive per unit of weight. Buying family-size cans, therefore, can save you money.
- Invest in a set of sturdy plastic storage containers so you can store your leftovers easily, especially, if you won’t be using your entire family-size canned food at once.
- Mark your canned goods. If your canned goods expire, you’ll have to discard them. Throwing away food is like throwing money in the bin. Take action to prevent waste by labeling your canned food with expiration dates.
- Write the expiration date on the front of your canned foods with a marker. That way, when you open your pantry, you’ll be able to quickly see which canned goods are closest to expiring.
- Organize your pantry. Once you’ve labeled your canned food by writing the expiration date in bold lettering on the front, order your canned foods based on their expiration dates. Place canned foods closest to expiration toward the front, and canned foods that expire further in the future toward the back. This will help you use items that are closer to expiration first.
- Shop wisely. Even though it is a good idea to stockpile your canned food and buy in bulk, you should still set reasonable limits to how many canned goods you store. For instance, do not buy more canned food than you can fit in your pantry.
- Check your pantry before heading to the store. If you see that you’re stocked up on canned food, do not purchase additional canned food.
- Don’t buy prepared canned food. Prepared canned food – chili, soup, and sauces – tends to be relatively expensive. But raw canned ingredients – fruits, veggies, meats, and legumes – are more affordable.
- Instead of buying prepared canned food, buy the ingredients to make it yourself, then freeze the dish in small batches that can easily be thawed and reheated.
EditCanning Food Yourself
- Choose your method. There are two canning techniques. One uses a pressure canner, a device that subjects canned food to high pressures to create high temperatures. The other method is to use a boiling-water canner, a device in which canned food is submerged in boiling water.
- When canning meat, seafood, poultry, and vegetables, pressure canning is the only canning method recognized as safe by the USDA.
- Assemble your materials. In addition to a canning device, canning at home requires a glass jar (a Mason jar, typically) and, of course, the food that you wish to can. If you grow your own produce, you could save even more money on your canning materials.
- You can often assemble canning materials – including a canning machine – for free on digital marketplaces like Craigslist.
- Try to get a set of canning jars for free or at a discount rate (but be sure to sterilize them by boiling them in water before use).
- If you have a community garden in your area, you might be able to lease a small plot for yourself to grow the veggies you want to can.
- Can your food. There are two standard canning methods. One is known as “hot packing.” This involves blanching your food (usually vegetables), then loading it tightly into canning jars along with some of the water they were blanched in. The other is known as “raw packing.” This involves placing raw food into a canning jar and pouring very hot water over it.
- If you have a boiling-water canner, you should raw-pack your canned food. If you have a pressure canner, you should hot-pack your canned food.
- After hot packing, seal the jar with a metal lid, and follow the directions that came with your canning device to determine your next steps. The amount of time your canned food will need to spend in the canning device depends on how much you have and what sort of food it is.
- The only additional cost when canning is your time. Pressure canners work faster than boiling-water canners.
- Determine expiration dates. Once you’ve canned your own foods, you’ll need to assign each can an expiration date so that it can be incorporated into your pantry system. Generally, home-canned food is best eaten within one year.
- Do not buy dented or damaged canned food.
- Canning food yourself costs about half as much as buying canned food at your grocery mart.