Saving on Groceries: 3 Fundamentals You Can Start Today!
Food expenses are usually the easiest place to carve out some funds in a tight budget. There are some pretty easy ways to reduce your food budget without making big changes!
If you have been tracking your spending and find that you are spending way more than necessary on food, here is how to bring it under control.
Quit Eating Out
I am not going to bemoan anyone for having their little treat every once and awhile, but eating out as an everyday habit is literally the worst way to use your money.
If you don’t have lunch at home or in a place you can cook, pack your lunch.
If you are like me and have to prevent a ton of kids from being hangry, keep crackers or other snacks in your bag.
Reduce Meat Consumption
Meat can definitely increase costs. Going meatless one day a week, or even eating smaller portions will help you cut costs.
For example, you could go meatless for a few times a week and replace it with rice and beans, a complete protein and source of several other nutrients. So you aren’t compromising on nutrition for saving money.
Another idea is to eat only half a portion of meat. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 pound ground beef for a pasta dish, then use 1/2 pound. Just make sure to get your protein from other sources like beans.
My family can get wasteful with food, and I can see a drastic difference in the budget when we do. Meal planning is the key to avoiding food waste and keeping costs down. Below is just a super short overview of the idea of meal planning. The goal is to always use food before it expires or goes bad.
The first thing you need to do when you start meal planning is to organize your pantry, freezer, fridge, and anywhere else you store food.
You always start with the things that you have! If you aren’t the type to make an inventory and keep it updated, then do your meal planning while standing in the kitchen so you can double-check for ingredients.
Check sale pages on your store’s website and see if you can use what’s in your cabinets to see if you can come up with some frugal meals. And don’t forget to plan a leftover day!
Types of Meal Planning
Now, the great thing about meal prep planning and prep is that there are both a ton of ways to do it and no wrong ways to do it. Explore, experiment, and find what’s best for your family.
I usually meal plan for 1 week, then buy double the ingredients, and repeat the same plan for 2 weeks!
Some people batch cook. This means they plan to make 2 or 3 batches of the same meal, cook it all at once then freeze the rest to save for the near future.
Freezer cooking is kind of like serious batch cooking. The goal is usually to prep all their food for the entire month!
Do you meal plan and prep? Does it save you money?