I'm pretty bad about food storage. I don't always wrap things properly and they spoil. Or I don't eat them before they go bad. It's something I'm trying to work on. Good tips.
Food is expensive and it’s going up in price with each passing day. This leave many of us questioning how to save money on food each month. A number of factors contribute to the higher food prices and it often feels as if you have no say on what you spend at the supermarket. That’s not necessarily the case. You can eat cheap healthy food without breaking the bank.
Here are five super simple ways to cut back on food costs:
- Grow it yourself. You can grow a plentiful garden no matter where you live, how much space you have, and how green your thumb is. Now is the time to start your spring garden. Container and square foot gardens are popular solutions for city dwellers that don’t have the means to grow a full size garden. Herb gardens and medicinal plants like Echinacea, Borage, and Pleurisy Root can be grown on window sills and in window boxes no matter how small or large of home you reside in.
- Can and preserve your surplus. Food is only good if you can eat it. If your garden supplies more than your family can eat at one given time, can and preserve the remainder of your surplus. There are a variety of ways you can store the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you grow. You can make jellies and jams, pickle foods, and even make chips out of apples, zucchini, potatoes, and carrots in a dehydrator. If you hit a sale at the supermarket on strawberries, for example, you can purchase several baskets of them and preserve them so you can have them at a later date. This is especially helpful because so many foods are seasonal and subject to astronomical price increases.
- Learn the basics of food storage. Knowing how to properly store your food supply will increase its longevity and ultimately save you money. If you have no clue how to keep food good there is no time like the present to get started.
- Eat at home. Skip a pricey meal out and opt to cook something similar at home. You’d be surprised how much further your dollars go when you prepare meals from scratch. There are a number of websites full of free recipes for you to choose from. If you feel like eating Thai, look for dishes that use coconut milk. If you prefer something hearty, cook up a big pot of chili and invite the neighbors over so you won’t have a refrigerator full of leftovers.
- Use coupons to get it for free or cheap. You don’t have to be into Extreme Couponing to experience extreme savings. Start getting the Sunday paper and watching the ads for the best deals. Pair store savings with manufacturer’s coupons and get food items for free or pennies on the dollar.
Food is a necessity that can’t be overlooked. Without it, you won’t survive. With it, you can fight disease, nourish your body, and provide yourself with a source of energy that gets you through the day. When acquiring food for your family, consider the aforementioned list as a way of cutting grocery costs. There are plenty of ways to acquire food frugally. You can start a garden, forage for wild edibles, freeze, can, and preserve your produce or purchase food at a discount from supermarkets and farmers markets.
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About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.
Good post. I think eating at home can be great way to save money. I find it easier to cook once or twice a week and eat the leftover the rest of the week.
Great tips KC! As a child I remember helping my Mother plant a vegetable garden in the backyard from seed. Still remember the taste of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers!
Growing it yourself can actually be as expensive as buying it in the store--it all depends on how you go about it! Fancy raised beds and an expensive planting mix make start up costs very high.
Good pointers! I've made a huge effort to eat at home more in the last couple months. I freeze meals for lunch and cook dinner. It's paid off huge financially.
Well said. At home, we set a food plan for the entire week. It saves us time and so that we can set a budget as well. If we plan to eat our, we plan ahead to so that we can find the printable coupons if there are any.
@Kevin Watts @Graduatingfromdebt I try to do more of that as well. We try to cook more in bulk so it is easier to just get things together when we need to eat fast.
@thefrugaltoad It is amazing how rewarding it is to grow your own food and it tastes so good. One of my daughters is really gotten into gardening and growing vegetables, it is fun to watch her really get into it.
@Jenny at FrugalGuruGuide It can get crazy for sure, and even though I have not run into it yet I am sure there are some produce that can get more expensive to grow on your own. But I really doubt that it will cost you more to grow your own in the long run for most vegetables, especially if you stick with the basics. We have an Amish farm up the road from us that grows pretty much everything and sells them cheaper than we might be able to grow them for ourselves, but the grocery store is much more expensive.
@fearlessmen It is amazing how much eating out can really start adding up.
@KC Beavers Actually, if you're following Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Garden method, it will take a MINIMUM of five years to break even, and even longer if you buy plants rather than starting your own seeds.
The Amish farmers up the road are growing in the ground!
@Jenny at FrugalGuruGuide I guess it all depends on how you grow them. I never really got into the square foot method, but I am not a really big gardener. We just have a little garden in the ground on the back of our property.