One of the biggest expenses for many family budgets is undoubtedly the grocery bill. With prices for produce rising, it is getting increasingly more difficult for many people to feed their families on a frugal budget, and since good food is so important to our health, this is bad news for us all.
Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to stretch your food budget that little bit further, including the following:
1. Write a shopping list
Writing a shopping list before you head to the grocery store is a really good way to avoid buying more food than you need or more food than you can use before it goes bad. Sit down and plan your meals for the week and then create a shopping list that only contains the ingredients for those meals. You will not end up buying lots of random things that look good, and therefore you will save money in the store and minimize food waste at home.
2. Save the leftovers
It’s an obvious point, but if you want to stretch your food budget further, then you need to make sure that you are not wasting a single thing. If it is still good, then saving your leftovers in the fridge or freezer so you can eat them later is really smart. So many people throw out their leftovers when they could repurpose them into a perfectly reasonable lunch or dinner the next day or later in the week.
3. Make soup
When you are looking to eat healthy and make your food budget stretch as far as possible, making soup at least a couple of times a week will really help with that. Why? Because you can use things like chicken carcasses, potato peelings, and other vegetable trimmings that would otherwise be thrown away to make surprisingly delicious soups by simply adding herbs and spices into the mix. Cook it up in a slow cooker and it will take very little time and cost you every little energy to do so, which is why it is probably the most frugal meal you can make.
4. Serve a side salad
Serving a big, healthy side salad, like this southern style grape salad, is an excellent way to stretch your budget further because it means you do not have to serve quite so much meat and so many carbs as you otherwise might. The salad will help to fill you all up while adding to the healthfulness of pretty much any dish you can think of, and salads are just so good that no one will complain about having a little less of everything else if they have a beautiful green salad to tuck into.
5. Shop in season
Buying produce that is in season where you are, buying strawberries in the summer and apples in the winter, for example, is a good way to stretch your food budget further because in-season foods will be available in abundance, which means they will not be priced at a premium. If you have a local farmer’s market, food in season is often cheaper and better there than it is at the grocery store, so bear that in mind too.
6. Grow your own
This one involves a bit of an investment upfront, but if you are into the frugal lifestyle for the long term, then investing in what you need to grow your own fruits and veggies, and maybe raise a chicken or two, is a good way to slash your grocery budget considerably. Once you are set up and things start to grow, you might not ever need to buy much fresh produce again, and that is good news for your wallet. You will also be able to access much fresher food too, which is always a bonus.
7. Clip coupons
Clipping coupons may not be as fashionable as it once was, but there is no denying that, if you are serious about stretching your food budget, clipping as many coupons as you can find and using them every time you buy groceries will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year depending on how serious you are about doing so. Many coupons can even be found online now, so it has never been easier to access great deals on your grocery shop.
No matter how big or small your food budget may be, the above ideas will help you to stretch things a little further so you can make savings while also ensuring your family eats well each and every day.