Saving money on your food budget is really not that difficult but it may take a bit of commitment. The good news though is that you can start saving money right this second without affecting your quality of life. It might even improve. Take a look at some money saving ideas.
1) Start Meal Planning
How do you shop for groceries? Do you just go to the store and grab whatever you like or do you have a system?
Meal planning gives you a system. Plan out your meals for the week and then write down the ingredients that you need to make them. Next, look in your pantry and refrigerator and see what you already have.You will then know exactly what you need to get through the week.
Meal planning allows you to buy only what you need with no wastage. It can drastically cut down on how much you spend. It will also make your life easier because you won’t have to figure out what to make each night and hope you have the ingredients.
2) Buy A Deep Freezer
A deep freezer will pay for itself in just a few months and will also make your life so much easier. Buy one, preferably a vertical one and start realizing some real savings.
When you have a deep freezer, you have the ability to buy in bulk. When meat goes on sale, buy as much as you can and simply freeze it. If wrapped properly to block out the air, it can last for months in a freezer.
Meat is not the only thing that you can deep freeze though. Bread does very well, as do all of those frozen snacks and meals. Instead of buying the little packs, you will now have room to buy the larger packages and save a lot of money.
If you do decide to buy a deep freezer, do yourself a favor and spend a bit more on a vertical model. It will cost around $200 but you will find it much easier to organize than the chest style.
3) Buy Non Perishables In Bulk
If something will keep for 6 months or more, you should probably be buying it in bulk to save money. The cost difference between small packages and bulk ones is astounding.
But what non perishables should you be buying. Think about things like rice, dry beans, canned goods and even spices. If it keeps and you use it often, buy it in bulk.
If you decide to go the bulk route, your best bet is with a warehouse store such as Sam’s Club or Costco. The small annual fee is very much worth it.
4) Learn To Cook
If you are not the cooking type, you should learn. Buying pre-made meals or ordering food in can be very expensive. Luckily, anyone can learn how to cook if they just try.
If the most you have done in the kitchen is boiling water, start small. Make scrambled eggs for breakfast, bake a chicken breast for dinner or heat some beans in the microwave. Start small and add to your skill set slowly. Nobody started out being a great cook.
By learning to cook, you can cut your food expense in half, you will be able to eat healthier and you might even find a new hobby that you enjoy.
5) Work With Cheaper Staples
You can do a lot with a few very inexpensive staples. These are rice, dry beans, potatoes and pasta. With these 4 things, you can make dozens, if not hundreds of great tasting and cheap meals.
If you go this route, the internet is your friend. Do a search for “potato dishes” or “rice dishes” etc. You might be amazed at just how many are available and when you calculate the serving cost, most will be in the pennies. It is a great way to save.
6) Use Your Leftovers
Are you throwing away your leftovers at the end of a meal? If so, you are wasting a lot of money. Even if it is only a half a portion, it could be reused as an entirely different meal.
A bit of leftover chicken can become the topping for a salad. Some extra beans could be the filling for a taco. Think of creative ways to re-purpose your leftovers and you will essentially be getting free meals.
If you are fortunate enough to have larger portions, package and freeze them. Then, once a week or once every two weeks bring all the servings out and have leftover night. Everyone can have their favorite.
7) Eat Less Meat
In our country, we eat entirely too much meat. It has become ingrained in us that a meal is not a meal without a serving of meat and this should not be the case.
Now, I love meat just as much as the next red blooded American but cutting it out once or twice a week can only do good things. It is better for the environment because of the impact from the meat industry. It is healthier for you and it will save you a lot of money.
Get your protein once a week from protein rich vegetables like brocolli or from beans. A few pennies worth of veggies per serving or a few dollars worth of meat. The savings are easy to see.
There you have it, 7 easy ways to save some money in the kitchen. While there are more ways to cut down those costs, these are great places to start.