Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cutting your Food Costs

Seems everyone these days is looking for ways to trim the budget. Food expense is often an area of the budget with a lot of fat. Below are some suggestions that may help you trim it down.

1. Cook from scratch.
C'mon you knew that was coming. This is Make it from Scratch after all. Starting with basic ingredients, instead of ready made items, for your family's meals is not only good for your health it is also good for your budget. 

Consider the items you normally use a mix for, or purchase ready made. Once a week or so try to make one of them from scratch. You'll find that many of them are almost as easy to make from scratch as they are to make from a mix. Share what you try right here for Firsts on the First

2. Use less meat.
If you already cook most of your family's meals, you can trim your grocery budget even further by using less meat. Stretch your meat by using it in soups, casseroles and stir fry instead of serving it as a stand alone dish. Serve a vegetarian meal or two every week. You may be surprised how much your family loves the very economical dried beans. 

3. Pack your lunches.
If you or your spouse work, if the kids go to school, packing lunches can save a huge amount of money. A five dollar lunch picked up at a drive through may not seems like a big deal, but think of how many meals for the whole family you could buy with that same money. How much does a box of spaghetti and a jar of sauce cost? Or how many bags of beans would $5 buy. Eating out adds up quickly. 

4. Eat your leftovers. 
Throwing away leftovers is simply throwing away cash. Use your leftovers for lunch the next day. Save all the leftovers for one night and call it a buffet. Let everyone pick out what they would like to eat for dinner that night. Get creative and make new things from your leftovers. 

5. Stick to a shopping schedule. 
Those "quick trips" to the grocery store to get "just one item" often become a cart full of groceries you hadn't planned on buying. Keep a running list of items you are running low on so you can stock up on your next shopping trip. If you are out of an ingredient, try to find a substitute or make do with out it. 

6. Keep it basic and simple.
Elaborate recipes, or high priced ingredients may be fun and tasty, but they are not necessary to meet your family's needs. Simple and basic does not mean tasteless, either. Some of the most simple and economical meals are family comfort food favorites. 

Food is a necessity, but spending a fortune to meet that need is not. What are your favorites tips and tricks to help keep food costs down? 


  1. One way our grocery spending is cut (and yours too!) is to grow our own food, as much as possible. If I have food at home, fresh from the garden or preserved in a jar or the freezer, I don't have to run to the grocery store at all! It's practically free.

    We practice all the rest of things on your list- great tips!

  2. Entire meals often come directly out of the garden in the summer. We'll make a meal out of corn, tomatoes, and green beans! YUM! I can't wait for summer!


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