Food is one often one of the biggest expenses in a family’s budget. Everyone needs it but all too often we spend more money on food than we need to.
For a lot of people, food is much more than just sustenance. Food is a huge enjoyment in our lives. Food can be social. We love cooking, preparing and eating food. But it can be expensive. Food is an easy way to bust a budget!
Here are a few ways to save money on food while maintaining all the enjoyment.
Coupon to Save Money on Food
Couponing works great for both grocery shopping and eating out. It takes some organizing to get used to but once you’re comfortable with a system you’ll be a pro in no time.
Use coupons for items you actually buy on a regular basis or genuinely need. I often find myself holding onto coupons that, albeit are good deals, are on items I don’t normally buy. They’re forcing me to spend money I otherwise wouldn’t.
When it comes to eating out coupons are a great way to enjoy a meal at a fraction of the cost. Using a BOGO coupon for a favorite restaurant is a great way to save money while still enjoying your meal. Online discount sites such as Groupon are great sources restaurant coupons and for cheap gift certificates at a huge discount too. I recently bought a $50 gift certificate to a steakhouse in town for $23. We’ve been wanting to go there but couldn’t justify spending upwards of $60 on a meal, this way we can enjoy our food for cheap!
Meal Plan to Save Money on Food
The single best way to save money on groceries is to meal plan. Being organized and making sure you have everything to properly cook and prepare your meals ensures you don’t make extra additional trips to the grocery store. I used to go to the grocery store almost daily getting that ”one” item for dinner and ended up spending like $30 on crap I didn’t need.
I find it easiest to do a week at a time but some do upwards of a month at a time. I like planning weekly because I can shop and plan my meals around the weekly sales as well, I ensure my produce stays fresh.
Freezer Cooking/Big Cooks
This is something I’ve only recently begun but it’s a life changing event.
Preparing multiple meals at once and freezing them so they can use cooked at a later date is a huge time saver. One prepares and freezes meals then take them out the day of cooking for either crock pot or oven cooking. For the initial investment of one days worth of work you can prepare and freeze enough meals for upwards of a month. There are many great cookbooks out there that portion large batches for families to freeze. Look up ”Big Cooks” if interested in finding more.
Buy in Bulk to Save at the Grocery Store
If there are items you buy a lot of frequently, consider a membership at a place like Costco where you can buy larger quantities for often much cheaper. See if a friend needs some too and share the cost! Incidentally, Costco has really terrific customer service and an outstanding return policy.
Cut The Crap
Let’s be honest, we waste money on crappy food we don’t need. Most of this stuff, though we may enjoy it, don’t need it. I’m not suggesting you cut all enjoyment out of your life (and diet) but if you’re looking for ways to free money up in your budget look at what you’re buying as well. Do you need that pop, could you come up with some substitutions for protein? There are often ways to find savings when we look at the itemized list of what we’re buying.
How do you save on food?