Save Big Money On Your Food Budget
by Julie Davis
- Start and use a price book.
- Bring your own homemade lunch to work or school.
- Shop at a grocery outlet and/or bakery outlet once a month to stock up on inexpensive dried goods and baked goods.
- Fill your pantry/refrigerator with foods that allow you to make dinner in 20 minutes or less on busy nights and avoid fast-food restaurants.
- Gradually eliminate expensive junk food. Start by replacing it with less expensive snacks. Exchange pretzels for potato chips, sweetened cereal for cookies. Gradually switch to more healthy, filling, and inexpensive food, such as homemade muffins, apples and carrot sticks, air-popped popcorn, or store-bought bagels.
- Aim to reduce your grocery bill by 5% each week.
- Grow some of your own vegetables. Many vegetables can be grown successfully in pots. I have grown lettuce, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes in pots with great results.
- Waste not. If you have a cup or more of anything, it is worth saving. If you ate something for dinner, there is no reason you cannot eat it for lunch. Small amounts of vegetables should be saved to add to pasta sauce, soup and other dishes. Cooked meat can be saved for soup, quiche, casseroles or skillet dishes. Invest in an ample supply of Rubbermaid-type containers.
- Eat something besides cold cereal for breakfast. Quick-cooking oatmeal takes about two minutes to microwave. Jazz it up with fruit and brown sugar or honey. Try making pancakes on Sunday and cooking extra for eating during the week. Toast with peanut butter, fruit and a glass of milk makes a filling and well-rounded breakfast. If kids rebel, show them how much money you are saving and discuss the great things you can do with that extra money, such as a family outing.
- Resist rewarding or comforting yourself with food. In addition to being unhealthy, this is a drain on the food budget. When you feel stressed, take a walk instead of having a latte. Treat yourself to an uninterrupted phone call with a friend instead of rushing out for donuts. Food can compliment entertainment, but food should not be entertainment in itself.
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