Everyone is experiencing the effects of the economy in some way or another. There are many ways by which a person can cut down on their living expenses, but when it comes to feeding a family, cutting the cost without sacrificing quantity and quality can be an enormous challenge. By being careful about what you do and buy, planning ahead and taking advantage of money saving opportunities, it may just be possible to cut the family food bill to $100.
Here are some tips that will help you reduce the cost of your food bill.
*Plant a vegetable garden –
One of the best ways to cut down on the cost of food while providing your family with the healthiest food possible is to plant a vegetable garden. You will need to have sufficient space, but even a small garden will provide a substantial amount of produce and save a tremendous amount on your grocery bill. Fresh produce is one of the more expensive things we buy because of seasonal and other considerations.
*Check out Dollar Stores –
Dollar stores have started to carry regular name brand products at much lower prices than what you’d find elsewhere. Keep your eye out for their sales and stock up on staples when they are on sale. Things like bread and milk may be available there regularly at considerably cheaper prices than regular stores.
*Refrain from eating out –
Those trips to the fast food restaurant and buying each member of the family dinner can really add up. With the cost of meal deals approaching $6, to feed a family of four, you’d have to pay more than $25 by the time you add tax. You can still have a quick meal at home if you plan carefully, and it won’t cost you over $25.
*Watch for store sales –
All grocery stores put different items on sale each week. If you look over the the advertisements for your local grocery store, you can plan your menus for the week so that you incorporate sale items into that menu plan. You can also add those items to your grocery list and that will save you considerably more money.
*Use coupons –
If you don’t get a Sunday paper, you can still get coupons. There are many websites that offer the same coupons that are in the Sunday paper (and many more,) and you can print the coupons to use on your grocery trip. Check out Smart Source,Eversave, Coupon Mom,
or Coupons.com. Take advantage of the store coupons that you find near items on the shelves or on merchandise.
*Eliminate junk food –
Junk food is expensive and unhealthy. A few junk food items can really add up on a grocery bill where adhering to a strict budget is essential. Refrain from purchasing chips, candy, soda, juice drinks and otherjunk foods.
*Avoid instant and processed foods –
Instant and processed foods always cost more. You are paying for convenience, and not for the nutrition. For what you are paying for prepared foods, you could probably buy many more other items that you’d have to prepare yourself. If you plan appropriately, you can have meals ready when your family is hungry and not have to deal with a bunch of starving people who are clamoring for food.
*Buy in bulk –
Buying things in bulk when you can will also save you considerably. Things like potatoes, onions, apples, carrots, other vegetables, meat, flour, sugar and many other things are far cheaper when you buy bulk or economy packages. If you can’t use all of a package of meet at once, separate that package into smaller portions that you can use for single family meals.
*Make larger quantities –
It is much more cost effective to make a larger quantity of something than it is to make a small amount and then have to cook something entirely different the next day. By making larger amounts, you can buy your ingredients in larger quantities, and save money that way.
*Find ways to make substitutions –
Make substitutions when you are cooking. If you are making a recipe that calls for ground beef, consider substituting ground turkey for the ground beef; it’s considerably cheaper. Are there other ingredients you can use that will save on the cost of food? If you buy cheaper cuts of meat, you can get much more for your money. An inexpensive cut of meat that may appear to be of lesser quality can be made into a fabulous meal by cooking it slowly and adding other ingredients. Slow cookers are great for this sort of thing.
*Use what you have –
One of the biggest reasons that people spend way more on their food bill than is necessary is because they forget to use what they have. By the time they realize that they had it anyway, it will have gone bad. Using what you have will also prevent you from throwing things out because they expired before you could ever use them.
*Keep a well stocked pantry –
When you keep a well stocked pantry, you will be able to rely on the ingredients you have in your pantry any time you need them. You will be able to use them to make the meals you plan for the week. When canned items and other non-perishable foods go on sale, buy some extra so that you can always keep your pantry filled.
*Buy day old bakery items –
There are places that have bakery outlets where a big name brand bakery will sell their day old merchandise for half price. They may also have other incentives to get your to purchase things. You may be able to get 2 for 1 deals on things like packages of buns and rolls.
These are some simple tips that will help you reduce the cost of your food bill. By planning ahead, taking advantage of sales, planning menus before shopping and using coupons, you can save a fair amount of money. Look for ways to take advantage of double or triple coupon discounts, if possible. By paying very careful attention to what you prepare for your weekly meals, you can provide your family with well balanced, nutritious and tasty meals and keep to a budget that’s close to $100 for the week.