A meal prepared on a budget.

Food Budget Hacks

You have to eat, that is a fact, but that does not mean that you have to spend a fortune to do so. Your food budget is one of your largest monthly expenditures and it is also the easiest to save on. Take a look at a few simple hacks that can save you hundreds of dollars a month and thousands a year.

Saving Money On Food

Food is one of the easiest things that you can save money on. There are literally dozens of ways that people waste money on food each and every month. Stop making these mistakes and you can save hundreds of dollars each and every month.

If you are ready to start saving and get that budget in order, take a look at these simple food money saving hacks.

1. Shop Online To Avoid Temptation

If you are still shopping at the grocery store in person, you need to stop. When you walk into that store, the odds are stacked against you. The grocer is doing every thing in their power to get every penny out of you.

When you walk in, you will notice that the most expensive products are located at eye level, kids toys are within grabbing reach of little hands and the checkout lane is loaded with candy. This just scratches the surface of what the grocer is doing to manipulate you.

Avoid these temptations by ordering your food online and picking it up for free curbside. When you shop online, you avoid the tangible temptations that you get in the store. Sure, they will try to suggest products to you, but a pop up is far less convincing.

By shopping online and avoiding temptation, you can easily save 20 dollars on your weekly grocery shopping trip by sticking to your list. That is 80 a month or almost 1000 dollars a year.

2. Focus On Cheap Staples

There are 3 simple and cheap staples that you should base your meals around. Rice, pasta and potatoes.

The above three staples can be served for just pennies a serving and can be made into hundreds of different dishes. Add a few frozen vegetables, some spices and a bit of meat and you can create just about anything.

Another great property of the staples above is that they are easy to cook. Even if you are a bit lacking in cooking skills, you can easily make the above foods. Anyone can boil pasta, steam rice or bake a potato.

By sticking to staples, you can make a meal for a family of four for around 3 to 5 dollars versus the 10 to 20 dollars that it might cost to serve a pre-made meal. Do that just five times a week and save at least 30 dollars which translates to 120 dollars a month. Keep it up and that is over 1400 dollars a year.

3. Shop The Loss Leaders

Stores put certain products on sale for great prices in order to get your attention. They rotate the products that are on sale to get you into the door and then hope that you will buy more expensive items. Often these items are complimentary ones. For example, hot dogs might be on sale, but not the buns.

Use the loss leader against the grocers by only buying the items on sale, especially meat. If hamburger is on sale, stock up on it and freeze it. When chicken goes on sale, do the same. Avoid buying higher price items and stick to the specials in the flyer.

Shop all of the major stores in your area weekly, taking advantage of the best deals. Then do the remainder of your shopping online at your regular store.

4. Stop Paying A Convenience Fee

It used to be that ordering a pizza or Chinese food was free. You paid for the food of course, but the restaurant provided delivery as a free service. This is not the case anymore.

Nowadays, it will cost you anywhere from 5 to 10 dollars just to have that food delivered, and that is before the tip. If you order in just once a week, you could be burning 500 dollars a year.

Stop paying for convenience and just go pick up that food. The food will be fresher, warmer and you will have an extra 500 dollars in your pocket to save or invest.

5. Eat Less Meat To Save Big

The most expensive thing in your food budget is meat. Costing as much as 15 dollars a pound, meat can drive the average cost of your meal  substantially.

Giving up meat just one night a week can save the average family up to 50 dollars a month or 600 dollars a year. That is a substantial savings which comes with other benefits.

When you cut down on meat, you also improve your health. While protein is important, the additional fat in meat can be negative to your health. In addition, the production of meat is costly to the environment, especially the cattle industry.

Wrapping Up

There are a lot of ways to trim the fat on a food budget. Save money and still eat virtually the same way that you do now, without making sacrifices.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.