Cheaper Food

04.28.2011

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.

Farmer's market

  • 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?

 

***

Photo by Empract

8 Comments

  • Cathy says:

    Hi, Beth! Thanks for the great tips! A yogurt maker sounds like a good thing, but can you do low-sugar, low-fat in them? I don’t know much about them, but our family loves yogurt – only we can’t have the high-sugar, high-fat kinds. Thanks for any advice!

  • Beth says:

    Hi Cathy, I use skim milk in mine it just takes longer that way. And I don’t put sugar in. I make plain yogurt, then put fruit in it with a little bit of sugar when I serve it.

  • happygirl says:

    This was a GREAT post. I need to start making yogurt

  • Yay for farmers markets!!! I try to get to one every week in the summer.

  • Jen S. says:

    You can look online to find videos on how to make yogurt with tools already in your kitchen.

    I use the skim milk to make yogurt as well. If you want it thicker you can add some powdered milk.

    To make Greek yogurt: Place your yogurt in a lined strainer, with a coffee filter or clean cloth, over a bowl over night in the fridge. The liquid that comes out is called whey, which is good for soaking dried beans.

  • Great site. Here’s a simple recipe for a simple lifestyle.

    Homemade matzo. Make your own snack food with nutritious and inexpensive ingredients. There are only two ingredients; whole wheat flour and water. Two parts flour to one part water. Mix them in a bowl, knead, cut into chunks, and roll thin with a rolling pin, drinking glass or Mankiewicz wine bottle. To remain kosher (and, why take chances?) you have to do this in eighteen minutes or less, from start to finish ( because the dough will start to rise and it’s supposed to be unleavened), so, preheat oven to 475 and bake 3-4 minutes. If you are successful and want to try a bigger challenge; drink the bottle of wine first.

  • Hi Beth, you’ve got some great tips to stretch the family food dollar. I was pleasantly surprised to find my own link to the cornbread casserole recipe which has helped quite a bit. Thanks so much! (The link in my name includes some frugal substitution ideas to help when you’re in a pinch, which I am often 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.