Food prices are up again. If you are looking for ways to lessen the pain at the register, try some of the tips below.
- Use a meal plan every week.
- Cook from scratch more often.
- Buy only what’s in season. Strawberries in January are a lot more expensive than strawberries in June. Fin out what is in season in your area.
- Visit farmer’s markets, local food stands and CSA’s. We love visiting our farmer’s markets and most vendors will tell you how to cook things you don’t know what to do with.
- Buy less snacks and pre-packaged food. You can use small, reusable snack cups for school lunches.
- Eat more beans for a cheaper form of protein. Here are some ways to eat beans.
- Stock up on weekly specials. Some stores even email them to you.
- Eat before you shop. Junk food especially looks better when you are hungry.
- Buy extra meat on sale and freeze in smaller portions. Often a family pack of chicken goes on sale and I put them into smaller 1-2 breast portions.
- Use cash when you buy food. Budget it weekly and once the money is gone, it’s gone.
- Cut coupons, but only for what you normally buy. Often the generic will be cheaper than the name brand with a coupon. Plus much of the coupon is for processed foods.
- Use leftovers. We waste tons of food each year. Try veggies in omelettes and soup, leftover hamburger in spaghetti sauce, stale bread for bread crumbs, lemon juice can be frozen in ice cube trays, leftover rice for rice pudding, leftover meat and vegetables for stir fries.
- Shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is much more expensive.
- Avoid restaurants.
- Eat less meat – 2 x’s a week is a good plan. And use recipes that stretch meat like cornbread casserole and shepherd’s pie.
- Try a garden this year even if it’s just a few herbs and tomatoes.
- Homemade yogurt is cheaper and better for you since it has less sugar and additives. I use a yogurt maker I got for Christmas, but you can also make yogurt from scratch. I was really surprised at how easy it was.
- You can try canning, making your own jam or freezing extra berries you get this summer.
What are your favorite ways to save money on food?