A person cooking in the kitchen to save money.

Is Your Kitchen Killing Your Budget

People tend to waste a lot of money in the kitchen. Because of this, your food budget is the easiest category to find savings in. Do you have to switch to eating Ramen noodles every day? Of course not, there are many simple ways to start saving in the kitchen. Take a look at a few ways that you can get that food budget under control and start saving money each month.

5 Ways To Save Money In The Kitchen

Saving money on your food budget is much easier than you might think. Even better, you can save money without changing your quality of life. In fact, the steps you take to save money may actually improve it. See for yourself.

Here are 5 ways that you can start saving money on your food budget right away.

1) Start Meal Planning

Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money in the kitchen. The idea behind it is to cut down on food waste, and believe me, we waste a lot of food. Individuals can save good money with meal planning, but for families, it can be a game changer. Here is how meal planning works.

First, you need to sit down and write out all of the meals that you plan to make during the course of the week. Then you make a list of the ingredients that you need to make these meals. Once you have your list, check your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see which ingredients you already have. Cross those off of your list and you are ready to shop.

Since you have a list to work with, you will not be buying items that you do not need. This will keep you from wasting money on food Food that would either have to be thrown away or that would collect dust on your pantry shelf.

Another benefit to meal planning is that you will already know what you are cooking for the week. No need to come up with meal ideas or make last minute trips to the grocery store. Most people find that meal planning not only saves them money, but also time.

But just how much money? The average family of four can easily get $100 to $200 back in their pocket each month, making meal planning well worth your time.

2) Make Use Of Leftovers

Throwing away good food is something that is uniquely American. We throw away things that people in other countries would never even consider disposing of. This is mainly due to the hassle of saving leftovers.

Take the effort to put this leftover food to use and save big.

The best way to make the most of leftovers is to be creative. If you have burgers for dinner, the left over patty can be the filling in your beef taco at lunch. If you have roasted chicken, shred up some leftover meat and have a chicken Caesar salad the next day. Repurposing your food is easy to do and if you run out of ideas, just look online.

Another way to save money with leftovers is to simply have leftover night. Freeze your meals and, once a week, let everyone in your family choose their favorite meal to thaw. You save money, meal prep time and everyone gets to eat their favorite meal from the week.

If you repurpose your leftovers into just one meal a week, an average family can save $20 a week. That is over $1000 in cash over the course of a year.

3) Buy Generics

Don’t be a slave to the ad agencies. If you are exclusively buying name brand foods, you may be paying as much as 30 percent more for your food.

What you have to keep in mind with name brand food is that most of it is made by the same manufacturer that is selling the generics. You just do not get the fancy labels and high dollar ad budget. If you can live without that, you can save hundreds of dollars.

All that being said, it does take some trial and error switching over to generics. While most generics will be similar in taste, their may be some differences. You will have have to experiment with different products to find the ones that you and your family will love. Trust me, the savings will be very much worth the effort in the end.

4) Shop Online

Over the last few years, online shopping has become a huge part of the grocery industry. It is a service that nearly every grocery store has been forced to extend because consumers have simply demanded it.

You can use online grocery shopping to your advantage and save big on your grocery bill. How? By reducing impulse buys. Try as they may, that pop up ad is not as enticing as the end-cap at a real grocery store. This is particularly true if you have had to shop with children in the past.

When you shop online, you are far more likely to stick to the items on your list. This means less impulse buys and more money in your pocket.

5) Shop The Loss Leaders

Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget about the loss leaders. These are products that grocery stores reduce in price in order to convince you to come shop with them. These sales make for nice headlines at the front of their weekly circular.

The trick to shopping the “loss leaders” is to shop the discounted items and then purchase the rest of your groceries at your regular store. Since grocers often inflate the prices of complimentary items, this allows you to realize maximum savings. Get a deal on hot dogs without paying too much for the buns. Scoop up the deal on pasta sauce, without getting ripped off on the noodles.

Meat eating families in particular can save a lot of money in the kitchen with “loss leaders”. Meat is one of the most expensive items in your food budget, so when it goes on sale, you should take advantage. Buy enough to freeze for the future or simply base your “meal plan” around the discounted meat.

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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.