Would you like to save money on food, but don’t know where to begin? Are you tired of leaving the supermarket broke every single time? Do you wish there was more you could do to save money on food than simply cutting out a few coupons now and then?
You’re not alone. There are many other people looking for ways to cut food costs today, too. The need to know how to save money has grown to great importance in this down economy where living paycheck-to-paycheck is becoming the norm.
But it can seem a daunting task to save money on food as prices quickly rise. This is especially true if you don’t know where to begin. However, with a little guidance and some determination you can stretch your food budget and carve out savings, sometimes even significant savings, on your monthly food bill. That will leave you with more money in your food budget for your grocery store trips.
The best part is you can start saving money right away by implementing even a couple of simple changes to the way you are currently spending money on food. Then you can keep adding more simple changes to save even more.
Here are fourteen easy ways to start saving money on food to help you get started. The fourteen ways that follow can be combined in order to add up to significant savings on your food budget. (And no, you don’t have to spend hours and hours with scissors in hand clipping tiny coupons from the newspaper or eating undesirable food.)
Save money on food by using your own stove
Eating out offers convenience and a chance to get out of the house. But if you want to effectively cut down on your food bill it will pay to eat as many of your meals at home as possible rather than at a restaurant.
For some, the thought of cooking most meals at home can seem to be a challenge too tough to attempt. But, in truth, cooking is really not hard. Once you’ve had a bit of practice you’ll be able to cook great meals quickly and painlessly. And you might even have a good time doing it. Here are a couple of easy pointers to help you get started cooking your own meals so you can easily save money on food:
• Get a collection of recipe books. (Resale shops and used bookstores have plenty of them!)
• Invest in quality cookware. (You’ll feel good using good tools, and they’ll last longer.)
• Don’t become discouraged. (Most people’s first attempt at cooking isn’t perfect.)
If you know how to cook but lead a busy life you can find plenty of ‘quick’ recipes that can help you create meals quickly and efficiently. Begin collecting them in a binder, drawer, or file cabinet as you come across them on-line or in recipe books.
Save money on food by spending less at the restaurant
Even when you do decide to eat out it is wise to look for ways you can reduce the bill. By spending less when you do go out to eat you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be able to afford to eat out more often if you desire.
One way to save money on food at a restaurant is to eat at restaurants only when they offer special prices. Many restaurants offer meals at discounted prices on a weekly basis.
Another way to save money on food at a restaurant is to buy cheaper priced menu items. Would a few individual dollar-menu selections serve just as well as a combination menu item? Could you buy smaller sized portions and still enjoy satisfaction from your meal? Looking for minor changes such as these can lower your restaurant bill.
Save money on budget-busting baby food
If you have a baby, a lot of your food budget is probably being consumed by baby food companies. A less costly option is to prepare your own baby food at home.
It’s easy to prepare your own baby food. First you should read up on nutrition for babies. Learn what foods to give your baby and what serving-size to make the portions. Next, you’ll want to pick up a food processor so that you can mash up the food thoroughly, easily, and quickly. Once you are set up to make your own baby food at home you can save significant money.
Build a low-cost recipe collection to save money on food
Build up a collection of recipes that taste good yet cost little to prepare. Whenever you come across a recipe like this be sure to save it in one central location so you can find it easily the next time you make out your grocery shopping list. When you have enough of these types of recipes you’ll eat very well, very inexpensively.
Resist impulse-shopping if you want to save money on food.
A big danger for people who want to save money on food is the ever-lurking danger of impulse buying. By design impulse buying is hard to resist. One of the easiest ways to avoid impulse buying is by eating a good meal before doing your shopping. You’ll find that you’re much less likely to throw items into your shopping cart impulsively if you aren’t hungry.
Save money on food by purchasing a deep chest freezer.
If you’d like to seize the best deals on meat, bread, and other foods that can be frozen, than a deep chest freezer may be just the thing for you. By getting a deep chest freezer, you’ll be putting yourself in the position to stock up on foods when they go on sale.
Deep chest freezers range in size and price. To make the best purchase, determine how much room you have for one and how much money you are willing to spend to buy one. Then keep your eyes open for the best deal.
Save money on food by buying meat wisely.
There’s no doubt about it: meat can easily be one of the biggest expenses in your food budget. If you want to save money on food and still buy meat you must become a wise meat shopper.
A simple way to save money on meat is to substitute expensive meats for inexpensive ones. For example, instead of ground beef for hamburgers, you can just as easily use less pricey ground turkey.
Another option is to reduce the portions of meat you use for each meal. This is a really easy way to help save money on food. The meat in such meal items as soup can easily be reduced without much notice.
Plan meals around the sales ad paper to save money on food
An easy way to save money on food each week is to plan the meals you make around the specials offered in the weekly grocery store sales papers. Sales papers usually discount a few basic food items that you can use to help make an inexpensive meal with. This can be a little tricky because what is saved on a few items usually is spent on many other items at the store.
In order for you to be successful with this strategy you’ve got to:
• Look for the best deals available and buy just those things.
• Creatively plan meals around the things that are on sale.
If you have a number of different grocery stores in your area be sure to study the various sales. That way it is much more likely you’ll get a variety of different specials that you can make your meals around.
Does your supermarket routinely put one particular kind of food (such as potatoes for instance) on sale? To save money on food it’s wise to find a variety of recipes using ingredients on sale with some regularity.
Sometimes you may be overcharged for the food at the register which completely eliminates any discount you should have gotten. It does happen, so be sure to double check your cash register receipt to be sure you actually got the advertised sale price. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of always looking over your receipts quickly to make sure you’re not overpaying on any item, whether on sale or not.
Save money on food by making your own snacks
Snacks can eat up a lot of your grocery budget. Often, stocking up on decent snacks costs just as much as buying the ingredients to make a good meal. If you want to save money on food it may be time to think about how to save some money on snacks.
First of all get a rough idea of which snacks you buy. Once you know what you’re buying you can make sure that you reduce it and save money on food. One easy way to achieve this is to buy generic brand snacks instead of expensive name brand products. Usually you’ll find snacks don’t differ much in taste from brand to brand.
Another way to save money on food is to downsize snacks you buy and start making more of your own homemade snacks.
Shop at different stores to save money on food
Shopping at several different supermarkets can help you get the best deals on everything you need to buy. If the supermarkets in your area are in close proximity then you should highly consider making use of this strategy. You’d be surprised at how widely prices can differ on even basic commodity type products.
This may seem like a lot of trouble. However, if you set aside an afternoon solely for shopping and spread out your shopping among a number of different supermarkets you’ll probably find your efforts will be rewarded. The only time this extra effort will be more than it’s worth is when the stores you visit are not within easy driving distance of each other.
The key to success is to know which products you usually purchase are cheaper in some stores than others. The only way to know is to shop at each store a few times in order to get a feel for the normal prices of a particular store.
Avoid wasting food if you want to save money on food
One of the best ways to save money on food is to efficiently use the food you have already bought. When you waste food you waste income. While putting an end to food waste seems obvious it is often much easier said than done.
Sometimes it’s hard to fight food waste simply because it is unclear where food is being wasted in the first place. If you’re like most, you may find you’re wasting food in the following ways:
• Never eating leftovers put in the refrigerator
• Meals left unfinished by your children
• Food that expires before you have a chance to eat
Once you know where food is being wasted it is much easier to take steps to reduce waste. Any food wasted cancels out whatever savings you got when you bought it. And it also means more money to replace the food you had previously purchased.
For example, if you find that your food wastage problem is the unfinished meals your young children leave, you should take quick action to reduce the waste simply be making a rule: Meals unfinished immediately get wrapped up, stored in the fridge, and eaten before any other meals are eaten (including snacks and desserts). And consider reducing portions, if appropriate, next time.
Save money on food by choosing canned goods over fresh
Fresh vegetables always pack more taste and add more flavor to meals. Unfortunately they also pack a whole lot more expense. One of the best ways to save money on food is to buy canned produce over fresh.
If you like eating a lot of raw vegetables and fruits, this may sound unappealing. However, even if you simply use the canned vegetables for meals like casseroles (or other meals where the flavor and crispiness will be cooked out to some degree anyway,) the money you save will be significant.
Save money on food by comparing unit prices
One of the easiest ways to save money on food is to compare the unit prices. This way you’ll walk away with the best deal. Unfortunately, not many remember to do this! But they pay for this oversight.
Comparing unit prices is important. Supermarkets cleverly do all they can to get you to buy the most brand name products (which are usually more expensive). One way they do this is by putting the more expensive products at eye-level so that it is among the first products you’ll see. That way, the chance of you buying the higher priced product is higher.
The key is to get in the habit of comparing unit prices. Try to start developing this habit next time you go shopping.
Organize your shopping in order to save money on food.
Taking an organized approach to your shopping means that you’ll more likely be able to achieve great savings. It will help you remove wasteful spending on items you don’t need, and it will help make sure you actually get the things you do need.
Organizing your shopping is easy. First of all, set a price limit for what you’re willing (or able) to spend at the grocery store per week.
Then plan out a week’s worth of meals. Make sure you include breakfast and lunch. This should take no more then twenty to thirty minutes. All you want to do at this point is to write down a list of meals.
Next, add up the cost to make these meals. If it’s under or around your weekly spending limit, then great! If not, go back over your list and replace some of your meals with ones that cost less to prepare.
Finally, after you’ve made your budgeted menu plan for the week, go to the store and stick to your spending budget! Approach it as if it were a game or challenge. Remember the prize: Sticking to the plan now will mean you save money on food at the end of the month.
Saving money on food is a good way to help you enjoy more of your income for other things. Use these fourteen tips to help you get started on the path to effectively saving money on your food bill. Good luck!