In keeping with our theme of finances for this week, I thought we could talk a bit about different ways to save money on our expenses. I think two of the easiest and most important areas for saving money are food-related which we will touch on today, and cleaning the house which we will talk about tomorrow.
Eating seems to take up a huge amount of our budget, so I try to be as frugal about it as possible. Some of these tips are things you might already be doing or just aren't for you. That's okay. My hope is that there will be a nugget or two of wisdom here that will benefit you.
Probably the most important cost-saving tip related to food is you must cook. Going out to dinner or bringing home take-out are always more expensive and often less healthy options. So if you know how to cook, then do it.
If you don't know how to cook, you need to learn but it doesn't have to be difficult. Maybe start with some crockpot meals where you throw everything in the pot and come back hours later to a completed meal. Still less expensive, still healthier, and just one pot to clean. :)
Plan your meals and then shop with a list. I try not to buy anything on impulse (except for those insidious Easter Creme Eggs in the spring that creep into my shopping cart undetected and are most certainly laced with a narcotic of some sort). Plan what you're going to eat during the week, including lunches and snacks, and then buy only what you need for that.
Buy chicken with the bones still in there. This will benefit you in two ways. First, you pay less for the bone-in version and can easily (okay, with some practise) remove the bones, leaving you with a lovely boneless thigh or breast. Second, you can make your own chicken stock from the leftover bones. This is super easy to do in the crockpot and 5 Dollar Dinners has a great how-to for this, giving you a healthier and less expensive stock to use.
Make your own dog food. I'm not brave enough to try cat food yet (our cats are much fussier than our dogs) but the pressure cooker easily makes stew that costs less than commercial dog food and uses human-grade quality food. If anyone is interested in an actual recipe, just let me know and I can forward that along.
|Homemade Dog Food|
Freeze that fruit that is about to become too ripe. These are perfect for smoothies, compotes, breads (e.g. banana bread), and sauces.
Use the right storage method to prevent premature food spoilage. Celery and cheese stay fresh much longer when stored in tinfoil, for example. Here is a link to other storage suggestions.
Drink more water and less juice and pop. This is great for your wallet and your health.
Consider growing your own herbs on your windowsill. The last couple of times I was at the grocery store they had potted herbs for less money than a bunch of cut herbs. I bought the potted version and just this weekend I transplanted them into the garden.
As you know, there are hundreds of ways to save money on your food. These are only a few to get us started. What is your favourite money-saving food tip?