Grocery Hacks: Tips to Reduce Your Food Budget
● By Digital Media Director
By: Shaina Herrmann
When it comes to grocery shopping, many of us will trek to the store once, sometimes twice a week. A common issue many of us run into is overspending each time we make a trip to the store, which adds up with each additional trip. This problem multiplies if we are shopping with our kids. Impulse buys, even when they are small purchases, will add up over time.
Two solutions to these problems are to always have a deliberate meal plan completed ahead of grocery shopping, and to only do one or two big shopping trips per month. Having a meal plan and reducing the number of trips to the store will greatly reduce the amount of overall spending on groceries, and it will encourage you to get creative with your meals at home!
Here are some ways to reduce your food budget and stretch your groceries to last longer than a week.
• Buy only your most commonly used foods in bulk.
• Plan your meals based on produce that is in season.
• Avoid paying for convenience foods. You’ll save money by chopping your own vegetables, putting together snack bags.
• When buying chicken, don’t shy away from the whole bone-in chicken. This can be significantly less than buying boneless cuts. Plus, you can use it to easily make homemade chicken broth.
• Utilize coupons and money-saving apps on your phone whenever possible.
• If a holiday is coming up and you know that specific groceries are going to be on sale, plan to stock up at those times and incorporate those into your meal plan.
• Over a weekend, make meals to freeze ahead of time that you can easily reheat in the oven on a weeknight. Soups, stews, gumbo, casseroles, and pot roast and many more meals will freeze well.
• Freeze fresh fruits, veggies, eggs (without the shells), peeled avocados (in lime or lemon juice), cooked pastas, broths, sauces, herbs, tortillas, flour, and certain types of breads can even be frozen.
• On shopping weeks, use the most perishable items first and incorporate them into as many meals as possible during that first week.
• Organic milk has a longer shelf life, as do fresh farm eggs.
• During the non-shopping weeks, pull from all of your frozen foods to create your meals.
• Baking your own sandwich bread is easy to do and very low cost. This is great for the weeks when you do not have fresh bread. Another option is to freeze your sliced bread and take pieces out as you need them.