There are a few things I will never compromise on. That includes the education of my kids, medicine, shelter, safety, and – most important of all – the quality of the food my family eats. I believe a good, healthy life starts with food.
I used to think it was impossible, that the only way to save money on food included sub-standard fare like fast food and junk food – all the stuff I promised to never compromise on. But being a Frugal Wife means I’m always looking for ways to stretch every dollar that my Frugal Hubby and I earn.
So some time ago, I decided to look for ways to save on money without sacrificing quality, nutrition, and taste. Surprisingly, I found it was possible. My husband and kids all ate with the same amount of gusto, and I managed to set aside considerable savings each month. But the most surprising thing of all was that these tips for saving money on food were actually really easy to do. If anything, they’re actually easier than my usual food preparation method.
How to Save Money on Food
What are you waiting for? Read on for to know about my favorite methods for saving money on food, without compromising on quality. These methods will save you both food and time!
Plant Leftover Vegetables
Some vegetables can be replanted. These include onions, tomatoes, peas, and some herbs. If you have some left over during meals or cooking, you should definitely plant the seeds instead of throwing them out. You don’t need to go all-out with homesteading to save money by growing these plants. A few dedicated pots are enough to grow an ample supply for an average-sized family.
Don’t Throw Away Food at the Expiration Date
I believe the food industry loves spoilage. After all, the more food gets spoiled, the more you will have to buy to replace it. I think this is pretty evident when it comes to expiration dates. Food doesn’t magically go bad as soon as the date stamped on the package comes. Throwing out food as soon as this date comes is a big waste. You can usually stretch things for a few weeks after the expiration date.
Dilute Canned Soup
This is one of the best ways to save money on food. Canned soup is usually pretty thick or concentrated. Most cans will require you to dilute it in an equal amount of water. But I discovered that you can add up to 25% more water without affecting taste. When you want the soup to be more flavorful, you can add milk or butter to the water.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is my go-to method for saving money on food. The amount you initially may be higher, but you’ll be saving money in the process. Plus, having a well-stocked pantry of stuff we bought in bulk has saved me time, since I don’t have to run to the grocery store when I need to whip up a great meal if my son’s softball team drops by the house unannounced.
Don’t be Afraid to Bargain
I buy my fruits and veggies from farmers markets and small stalls. These places store owners are usually willing to haggle, especially if you buy in bulk. If you find a stall or seller you like, I recommend you keep coming back to them. This builds familiarity – plus, sellers love regular customers. This will help you haggle a bit. Remember not to haggle too much. These sellers aren’t part of multibillion-dollar corporations and are also trying to maximize their earnings like you are.
Plan What to Order Before Eating Out
When you order in a restaurant, chances are you’ve been bombarded by sites and smells designed to increase your appetite. And when that happens, we all tend to over-order… and that results in paying for more food than we need. To avoid that from happening, we usually plan what we’re ordering before we head out to eat. This process is actually pretty enjoyable – my entire family enjoys poring over menus online before we head out. It builds anticipation, and makes eating out even more fun!
Bring Home Your Leftovers
Even if you do sufficient pre-planning, chances are you’ll have quite a bit of food left over. When that happens, you should bring home the leftovers – they’re perfectly good for another meal. Most sit-down restaurants will do this, but you can also have your leftovers wrapped in fast food restaurants. You can always ask for a paper bag to wrap a half-eaten burger or a lone chicken wing.
Study Your Local Store’s Sale Calendar
If you know when your local store is going on sale, you can plan your food shopping around it. Unfortunately, stores and supermarkets don’t always announce their sales until a few days before the sale starts. But if you’ve been going to the same store for years, you will have developed a sixth sense for when these sales take place. And it’s not difficult – sales usually happen around the same time each year. Be observant, and know how to use this schedule to your advantage.
Pick Parts of Meat Without Bones
When shopping for meats like chicken parts, pork chops, or steaks, you should get the pieces with little to no bones. Think about it: bones are included when the store calculates the weight and cost of the meat, but you don’t get to eat it. Whenever I shop for meats, I always take a couple of extra seconds to pick the ones that have less bones on them.
Make Food From Scratch
As much as we love to eat out, doing so can take its toll on the food budget (which is why we only eat out during special occasions, or as a treat when our kids get good grades). Making food from scratch is probably the best way to save money on food. Plus, with home-cooked meals, you can control the ingredients that go into your family’s meals.