Use Simple Ingredients and Staple Foods to Save Money at the Grocery Store
Times are tough. Saving money is on the minds of most people these days. If you're like me, what you spend on groceries each month can either make or break your household budget. You may think that a limited grocery budget means eating beans and rice every day, but not necessarily. You CAN lower what you spend on groceries and still eat well (maybe even healthier than before!!). Here are some suggestions for eating well within your limited grocery budget:
•Focus on staple foods - Basic staple foods such as rice, potatoes, bean, corn, onions, tomatoes, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit, are eaten around the world even in poor, developing countries. These ingredients are often available in bulk and at very reasonable prices. Building your meal plans around these foods can significantly lower your grocery bill. Whole foods cooking can be very healthy as well. Check out http://www.foodbycountry.com/ for more info on what people are eating around the globe.
•Cut out the sugary cereals - Instead of purchasing high priced cereals or other convenience foods for breakfast, consider the following alternatives that are easy to make ahead and are easy on the budget: boiled eggs, toast with jelly, oatmeal, muffins, and pancakes. The Saturday morning tradition at our house is pancakes and eggs; I always cook more pancakes than we need and put them in the freezer. Muffins can be as simple as cinnamon or banana muffins (my kids love these!) which are very easy and inexpensive to make.
•Reduce or eliminate snacking - Now this may sound difficult, but there are simple changes you can make to reduce the amount of snack foods your family eats. A bag of chips or a package of cookies doesn't last long in my house and purchasing these types of snacks can quickly eat into your household budget. Providing a hearty breakfast will usually last longer than the sugary alternatives. For an afternoon snack, try carrots and celery with salad dressing for dip, a bagel with cream cheese, or fruit. Try to eliminate habits like eating in front of the TV too.
•Simplify your meal planning - Choose three of your favorite frugal recipes for dinner, cook these in a larger quantity and eat them throughout the week. Because of the time saved on meal planning and shopping, you'll be more likely to cook at home (not eating out because there are no meals ready).
•Choose recipes with fewer low cost ingredients - Take a look at your favorite family recipes. Do they require alot of specialty items to make? Pick out the ones that are the most inexpensive to make. You may also estimate the cost to prepare one batch and divide it by the number of meals that it makes to get the cost per meal. Use this number to find out which ones will be the most cost effective to make. Cook these often; leave the others for special occasions.
•Go meatless - Now this doesn't always work in my house, as my family loves meat! But since meat can be one of the most expensive items on your grocery list, eliminating meat from even one meal during the week can save you significantly. There are many tasty vegetarian recipes to choose from. If you just can't leave out the meat, keep an eye out for sales on meats and stock up.
These are just a few examples of changes you can make to lower your food costs. Try a few of these tips and see the difference it makes!!