These 25 tips will help you stretch the food you purchase:
1. Each week challenge yourself to make at least 2 meals from the pantry/freezer.
2. Keep your refrigerator and freezer organized. Designate one area for leftovers so you always know what you have on hand.
3. Make a game out of refusing to let food go to waste. The heels of bread and the crusts cut from sandwiches make great bread crumbs. Spotted bananas can be peeled and frozen for banana nut bread or smoothies. Celery leaves are good for soups. The possibilities are endless.
4. Be intentional with your eating. Don’t munch out of the container. Make a small portion and limit yourself to that. It will help with the budget and the waistline!
5. If you have a little one, learn how to make your own baby food. It is super easy and it will get them used to the way the real vegetables taste.
6. Skip recipes that have more than 8 ingredients or require foods not commonly purchased in your house. With the millions of recipes available, you can find ones that fit within your budget.
7. Check the site stilltasty.com to see if food is good past their expiration date. Use caution and common sense. If they are dented or bulging, don’t use it!
8. Write the date on packages when you open them. It will keep you from tossing out the last little bit because you aren’t sure when it was opened.
9. Fill your plate with 3/4 fruit and veggies and the other 1/4 with the more expensive meat and grains.
10. Don’t allow kids to have seconds on meat, but let them eat as many fruit and veggies as they would like.
11. If you know you are in for a busy week, grill on the weekend and then put it in containers so they are ready to eat during the week.
12. The best time to purchase canned goods is around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stock up now for less than half of the price you would find them the rest of the year.
13. Purchase a thermos so you can pack beverages in lunch boxes. It is cheaper to buy a bottle of juice than it is to buy juice boxes.
14. Don’t purchase lemonade or other fruit punches. Instead pick up 100% juices and water them down to make them stretch.
15. Instead of using an ice pack, freeze your water bottle and it will be thawed by lunch. It will keep your food cold in the process.
16. If you plan to take leftovers for lunch, put your portion in a reusable container before you serve your family dinner. If they don’t know there are seconds, they won’t be tempted to consume them.
17. Price how much it costs you to make homemade cookies versus buying them in the store (even with coupons). It will probably come out cheaper and they are healthier for you.
18. Cook dried beans instead of purchasing canned. You can cook them in bulk in your slow cooker and freeze what you don’t need right away. You’ll also avoid all that sodium!
19. Invest in a vacuum sealer. Being able to seal the food that you don’t eat will help you save more money by keeping your food fresher longer.
20. Frozen fruit tends to be cheaper than fresh fruit (especially berries) and you don’t have to worry about them spoiling before you can eat them. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies.
21. Watch a couple of YouTube videos on how to can fruits and vegetables. You can make your own jams, sauces, etc. for a fraction of what it would cost you at the store even if you used coupons!
22. Visit the bulk section in your grocery store. You can often find pasta, grains, nuts, dried fruit, and other baking goods for a fraction of what they cost in the regular aisles.
23. Check the ethnic aisle of your grocery store. Sometimes you can find items for less here than they cost elsewhere in the store. You should also look for an ethnic store in your area because you can sometimes find really great deals there.
24. If you purchase a tough cut of meat, let it marinade for a few hours. If you add lemon juice it will help to soften the meat. Try cooking it in the slow cooker on low. You’ll be surprised how tender it turns out.
25. If you only need a few produce items, take advantage of the salad bar at your local grocery store. You can get a few peppers, a couple pieces of broccoli, or a few cherry tomatoes instead of buying the entire carton. Great for recipes that only need a few items or for those who live alone.
Find out all the ways to save with our helpful Savings Bingo!