Cook at Home:
A weekly menu plan can save money on food by quelling the temptation to eat out or order in. If there is a homemade meal waiting in the fridge, you’ll reach for that first – and save some money.
Plan Ahead For Meals:
Like I mentioned above, a weekly menu plan can save you time and money. Plan a week’s worth of dinners, and then set aside one day (Sunday afternoon maybe?) to cook some of the meals. You’ll also save time and money at the grocery store, because you won’t be tempted to buy extra food – provided you take a list and stick to it!
Eat Less Meat:
Add legumes and beans to your menu plan, and choose less meat. We all know that meat can be expensive at the store! And not only will you save money on food, you will lower your risk of heart, liver and kidney disease. Try foregoing the meat one night a week, and choose a legume-based vegetarian option instead.
Start a Food Journal:
Write down what you eat and what you throw away, and you will gain some insight into what you need to be buying at the store. We tend to throw away a lot of food – and when we do that, we are also throwing away money. Keep track of what goes in the trash from your last shopping trip, and skip those items the next time you make your trip to the grocery store.
Create A Stockpile:
When items are on sale, and you have coupons, consider buying a few extra and creating a stockpile of what you need. Buying items on sale with coupons lowers your price point, and keeps you from having to buy those same items again next week when they are not on sale and costing more. For more information about how to start a stockpile, check out Living Rich With Coupons. This is a WONDERFUL site to help you get started with using coupons, comparing sales at various stores in your area, and creating a stockpile that will help you save money on food.
Shop With A List:
Plan out your shopping list before heading to the grocery store and you will cut down on impulse purchases. Putting on your blinders when you enter the store, and only searching out what’s on your list keeps your finances in line, and you won’t overspend. Make sure you tell any little kiddos that are shopping with you your list is going to be followed, and then stick to it.
Use Online Printable Coupons:
There are several sites you can find that have printable coupons that you can use when you shop. Coupons.com is one of the best. Or you can find coupons online by searching for a product, then adding “coupon” to it; i.e. “Cascade dish soap coupon” or “Suave shampoo coupon.” Using coupons can significantly help you save money on food.
Use Coupon Apps On Your Phone:
There are several great apps you can install on your phone to get money back from purchasing your groceries. Ibotta, SavingStar, Checkout 51, and Coupons.com all have apps where you can scan your receipt and get cash back for items you’ve bought. Here are two posts about how I use these apps:
Set Weekly Limits on Spending:
If you monthly budget for food is $400, break that down to $100 per week. Stay within that limit on your grocery shopping each week and you will stay within your budget.
Shop At Night:
Most grocery stores are open later in the evening. Skip the crowds and shop in the evening. Winco grocery stores are open 24 hours a day! Without the distractions of other shoppers, kids, announcements, etc. you can focus on your grocery list and making sure you are getting the best prices, staying on budget, etc. And using coupons at the store in the evening won’t cause problems if there are no other shoppers in line behind you!
Stock Up On Chicken and Eggs:
Both of these are great buys and usually cost effective. There are a multitude of ways to prepare eggs, and they are great for any meal. Hard boiled in your lunch, scrambled or fried for breakfast, etc. Chicken is great in so many ways, as well. When chicken breasts are on sale, go for those. Otherwise, get drumsticks or thighs – they are usually less expensive as a rule. If your store has whole roasted chickens on sale, pick one up for dinner. Use the leftovers for sandwiches the next day, and make homemade chicken soup with the carcass the day after. Fill your freezer with chicken, and use them for quick dinners.