One of the best ways to cut your overall budget is to learn techniques that will help you save money on food. This doesn’t have to mean boring meals, and it certainly doesn’t have to mean unhealthy ones. In fact, you may find that you eat more wholesome foods when you watch your budget, because often, the most expensive food products are also the worst for your health.
Where You Eat
The most effective way to cut large amounts from your food budget is to stop eating out. A shrimp scampi dinner for a family of five could easily cost more than a hundred dollars in a seafood restaurant. A savvy shopper can prepare the same meal at home for less than twelve dollars total. Even a hamburger dinner is much less expensive to prepare yourself than to purchase. The “six dollar burger” can easily be a two dollar burger when you make it yourself.
This enormous cost savings only makes sense. After all, at home you’re not paying someone to cook.
When You Shop
Some home management guides recommend that you plan meals for an entire week, write out a list of the ingredients you need, and then go out and purchase them. If you’re trying to save money, that’s almost the reverse of the process you should follow.
To save money on food, you need to start eating what’s on sale. Most major supermarkets, for example, have chicken on sale about one week in four. Wait to buy chicken until you can get it for a dollar a pound, or even less. The chicken will be just a fresh, wholesome, and nutritious if you buy it cheap than if you pay $2.99 a pound during an off-sale week.
What you should routinely do when shopping is consult the sale circular and posters available near the front doors of your supermarket. Take a few minutes to notice what’s on sale. Buy those items, in large quantity if you can store them, and then plan your menu for the week.
This technique can easily shave 30-50% off your grocery bill, and you can still eat all the usual things you like. You’ll just schedule your purchases strategically so you pay as little as possible. An added benefit to this technique is that you’ll often be eating in season since sale items, particularly on fresh fruits and vegetables, tend to coincide with agricultural surpluses.
How You Cook
If you are willing to change how you prepare meals, you can realize significant additional food savings. Instead of purchasing ready-made, prepared meals and side dishes in the freezer section, buy the required ingredients and cook the items from scratch.
This will not only save you money, it will let you control the amount of sugar, salt, and fat in your food.
Shop less frequently so you aren’t tempted to buy things you don’t really need. Prepare meals from leftovers so nothing goes to waste. Use coupons for things you will purchase in any case.
This guest article was contributed by Jane Sanders of DebtManagement.net. Visit her site for more information on debt elimination. amount of sugar, salt, and fat in your food.
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