For many American families food is one of the bigger items on their monthly budget. With prices steadily increasing, every family is looking for ways to fill their plates and stretch their food dollar. Here are 10 tips for saving money on food.
1. Plan Ahead
The best way to stick to your food budget is to plan ahead. Make a list of everything you need before you go. This helps ensure you only get those things that you need and that when you go to cook something, you will have everything you need for that recipe.
2. Stick to Your List
While at the store, don’t buy anything that isn’t on the list. If you forgot something, you can always add it to the list next time. Making a “nothing that isn’t on the list” rule will make it easier to say no to impulse buys and unnecessary “sale” items that can really drive your grocery bill up.
3. Buy What’s in Season
Seasonal food is less expensive. Buying 20 pints of blueberries when they are $1 a pint and freezing some for later use means you won’t have to spend $4 a pint in a few months. Eating seasonally is also a great way to support local farmers and ranchers and decrease your ecological footprint.
4. Compare Prices
Don’t shop at the same store every week just because you have always shopped there. You may be able to get some of the items you buy all the time at lower prices by shopping at another store.
5. Produce Over Processed
Buy more food in bags than you do in boxes. Purchasing produce from your local farmer’s market or the grocery store provides more nutritional value for your dollar.
6. Buy in Bulk
Another great way to feed your family without busting your budget is to buy in bulk. The key however, is only to buy those things that you will actually use rather than buying everything in bulk.
7. Start at the Farmer’s Market
Make the most of your money by starting your grocery shopping at the farmer’s market or farm stand. In many cases you can get lower prices on some items by purchasing them here. Starting your shopping trip here will ensure you get everything you need at the best possible price.
8. Frozen, Canned and Dried
Don’t forget that frozen, canned, and dried foods can be just as delicious and nutritious as fresh food often at lower cost. You can also can, freeze, or dry food yourself which is another great way to take advantage of the low prices on seasonal foods.
9. Do the Work Yourself
A quick and easy way to cut your grocery bill is to choose unshredded, unsliced items, meat with the bones, and other items where you have to do a little work in exchange for a lower cost. Doing things like shredding your own cheese, deboning your own chicken, and making your own bread saves you family a significant amount of money over the long run.
10. Don’t Shop Hungry
Make sure you have a snack or a meal before you go shopping. The fastest way to mess up your shopping trip and stray from your list is to have to listen to your stomach ask for everything in the store.
- Need a Little Dinner Inspiration? Fill Your Plate with Locally Grown Pork (fillyourplate.org)
- Farmer’s Market Tips: How To Shop Locally And Seasonally (huffingtonpost.com)
- Best of Farmers Markets (foxnews.com)