Feeding a family well on a budget can be difficult when it seems like prices just keep going up. Here are eight easy ways to save:
- Plan your weekly menu. Base it on what you have available and the sales in your local stores. Use your calendar to plan meals based on activities (slow-cooker meals on a night with activities) to make it easier to stick to.
- Find an inexpensive store. Not all grocery stores are created equal! You may have to bag your own groceries or pay only with cash or check, but the savings can be worth it.
- Watch for sales. Stock up on items when prices are low. Watch for sales trends and buy expensive items when you know they will be on sale (like picnic items in July or baking products in November), but beware impulse buys.
- Buy in bulk. Look for staple items (rice, flour, spices) in bulk bins. You’ll be amazed at the savings when you don’t pay for packaging.
- Look for sales on meat. Stores must sell meat by a certain date, so watch expiration dates and freeze what you don’t eat. (The USDA’s guide for freezing food tells you how long it’s safe: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/focus_on_freezing/index.asp.)
- Buy less processed food items. Cook from scratch, instead! An added bonus, your snacks will also likely be healthier.
- Save on produce. Shop at the farmer’s market or directly from the farm. Buy fruits and vegetables based on what is on sale and in season, and plan your meals accordingly.
- Use your leftovers. Pack them up for lunch or serve them for dinner as part of a leftover buffet, but don’t let your food go to waste.