How to Cut Food Costs as a Retiree

Although it may be deemed a hardship for some, eating out less will save a lot of money. Eating in means cleaning up and doing dishes, but it might be worth it. So as not to feel deprived, go all out occasionally and make yourself a really special meal at home.

If you’re able, and have the time and energy, you might want to grow some of your own food. This can go all the way from a simple herb garden in a window box to a full-fledged vegetable garden. In between these extremes, you can plant food in planter boxes. Tomatoes do very well in pots with wire for them to climb on. You can do hydroponic gardening if you don’t have a lot of yard or soil.

One of my friends has gotten together with his neighbors and they have decided to do a neighborhood garden. I think it involves five families or more. They’re not all retired but it doesn’t matter. If you have neighbors who are willing to participate in a neighborhood garden, everyone benefits. Some cities have city gardens. In one city I lived in the city rented out plots of land for gardening. The waiting list to get one of these plots was pretty long but many cities have land that is lying fallow. What a great use for such property.

Of course if you do grow some of your own food you can look into making trades with your excess food with neighbors and friends who also grow more than they need.

As for buying groceries, the secret is sales, coupons, and bulk buying. They had a woman on Oprah who played the coupon game. By going to a store that doubled coupons and buying things that were already on sale, this woman bought over $100 worth of groceries for under $5. Now it will take some time and skill to pull this off, but it is always wise to try to double your coupons and only use your coupons for sale items.

Big box stores are good money savers if you are able to preserve the larger quantities of food. If you end up throwing stuff away, you’ve lost any savings. Another thing to do with these stores is split stuff with a neighbor, friend, or family member.

Do what you need to do to save money on food but don’t ever get to the point where you feel you are depriving yourself. That’s worse for your health and emotional well-being than spending a little more on food.