Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can’t control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.
Once upon a time, 1994 to be exact, I spent more to feed me and my husband than I did to feed four kids ten years later. In those newlywed days we spent $500 a month eating like kings — and wasting a lot of food.
Today, we’ve learned a few things and are much better stewards of our resources, spending between $800 and $1000 each month to feed our family of 8. The most recent food cost data from the USDA says we should be spending between $1211 (thrifty) and $2422 (liberal) for a family of our size and composition. Clearly I was spending in the liberal category back in 1994!
Grocery costs continually rise. With the increased costs of energy (for transportation as well as food storage), it’s a natural economic progression. Yet, there are things we can all do to save money on food.
Here are five simple ways you can trim your bill, no coupons required:
1. Eat what you have.
Now, some may say this isn’t really a savings if you’ve already paid for it. But, so much of our food goes to waste because we buy more than we need. Using up what you got is a great way to reduce waste and save money.
Consider a week or two doing a Pantry Challenge. You can easily save some coin by focusing on the food you already have.
2. Only buy things that are on sale.
Back when I was a newlywed, I bought chicken when I wanted chicken. That meant I might pay $5 or $6/pound for boneless, skinless chicken breast. Today I never do that. I buy ingredients when they are sale, stocking a few extra in the freezer to use later.
I make chicken when I want it, but I’ve bought it only when the price is right.
3. Bake it yourself.
Home baking is not rocket science; it just takes a little time and attention. You can make a loaf of bread or a batch of rolls for very little money. These simple Italian rolls only cost ten cents a piece to make, but you’d easily pay five times that at the store. And they wouldn’t be five times as tasty.
You can bake a couple times a week and save a good chunk of change.
4. Eat at home.
I love take-out and restaurant food just like the next girl, but I also know that we can save LOADS of money when we eat at home instead. Avoiding take-out has the potential to turn your food budget around.
Make a plan to eat more meals at home.
5. Eat less.
No, I’m not recommending a starvation diet, but I would hazard a guess that most of us eat more than we truly need to. I know I do. Portion control is a great way to eat more healthfully as well as to save money. Every night does not need to be a feast. As a spoiled American, I tend to gravitate more toward feasting than I do moderation.
Enough is as good as a feast, especially when it helps you live within your means.
This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.