Before you can enjoy an exquisite delicacy that you made, before you can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, and before you can even enjoy a mediocre sandwich, you have to prepare it.
Some foods and meals take a long time to prepare such as a dinner for 5 or basically anything that requires a Crockpot. Others can be as simple slapping something in-between two pieces of bread or just grabbing and eating. Unfortunately, the items that are “grab and go” are typically unhealthy or don’t fit into the budget.
Just as you need to prepare for the best and most enticing meals that you look forward to enjoying, you will need to put as much time in preparing to buy the groceries as you do cooking them if you want to remain within your budget. Here are 10 tricks and tips to lower your grocery budget.
2. Stretch the meat and poultry. Instead of cooking chicken breasts, cut them in half or go after the chicken tenders and only have one with a meal. The same can be done with any meat. Make the hamburgers smaller or cut the bratwurst links in half. *Remember, you are not only making meals last, you are making the money last too.
3. Eat in season. Not only do products such as strawberries, grapes, alfalfa and other fruits and vegetables cost much more during their off season, they often lack the significant taste you love. If a meal calls for an ingredient that is not in season, either postpone the meal or swap the ingredient out with something that is in season and will still arouse your taste buds.
4. This trick only a few can do. What really makes getting meals on a budget so difficult is not necessarily the price of foods, but it is the variety of foods you want. Very few people can enjoy the same meal three times a week or even the same meal three times a month. The necessity of changing up what you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner is directly related to the flux from being on budget, to not. It’s really quite simple to develop a food plan that is within a budget, what will exhaust you is to do it each week while trying to eat something different. Try making two weeks out of the month focused on having the same food which means you spend the same low amount on groceries.
5. Limit the favorites. The majority of the time, the favorite kind of food is the expensive kind. The other type of favorites you may have to sacrifice if you are on a tighter budget is the brand of food you get. If you really want to save money, go with the generic brand. Honey Bunches of Oats for example is $4.45. A generic brand can be as cheap as $2.43.
6. Another thing few people want to do to stay on a budget is to finish eating what they have in their cabinets and fridge already. Don’t let the frozen bag of corn stay in the freezer for 3 weeks or the bag of rice in the pantry. Save the few dollars on buying new groceries for the week and finish the ones you still have.
6.5 Noticing what you rarely eat or like to make will act as a reminder to not buy those things again. Money spent on food that won’t get eaten for months or eventually thrown out is a waste and does not do any good to your budget.
7. The one time it can be beneficial to have large amounts of food leftover is when you catch a great deal on nonperishable’s and decide to stockpile. The key is to make sure you will eat what you purchase and that you are not buying it solely for the sale.
8. Avoid eye level groceries while shopping. Clever minded markets place enticing, but expensive items where you will see them. Make sure you take time to grocery shop rather than making it a race.
9. You’ve likely been told before but need to hear it again. Never go grocery shopping when hungry.
10. What’s worse than going over your budget is going under it with unhealthy and under-valued food. Understand that a budget won’t work if you exchange your good health to do it.