Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wheel of Life - Money Saving Eating Tips

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.

Thibeault's Table

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.

Banana Smoothies

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?


Lynn said...

Buy dry beans! They are less than half the cost of canned (even cheaper on sale) and taste better too. Gonna try the celery and cheese in foil tip-thanks:@)

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Thanks for the tips Terry...but I am NEVER making my own dog food! I know my dogs would not appreciate it enough.(They are so ungrateful!) However, I buy Hearts of Romaine, separate it, wash the leaves and roll them up in paper towels and it keeps for a couple of weeks...much longer than head lettuce or salad mixes and so inexpensive.

Pam @Threading My Way said...

Good tips, Terry! You can save so much by not eating take away!!!

My husband plans the meals and then he does the shopping. I just do the eating... LOL!!! When I ask him to pick up certain foods, such as blueberries, he tells me how much they cost per kilo and compares them to other foods. He'll still buy them if I really want them, as long as I'm aware how much they are costing us. We save SO much now that he has taken over the shopping!!!

Tina Bradley said...

Great post! Freezing the bananas for smoothies is a fab idea. Love my smoothies! :) T.

Carol-Anne said...

I love the idea of freezing the bananas! I must try that....

My only good tip for saving money with food is to agree with you that you save way more money when you cook it yourself!

Unknown said...

I used to be much better at planning a menu. It was so nice not to have to think about what was for dinner, and when the kids want to know what's for dinner they can just look at the menu. I really need to get back to that.
I love your celery tip. I've not heard that one before.
Oh, and the crock pot is great for the summer because it doesn't heat your house as much as the oven does. Great Post!

Maureen Wyatt said...

I keep cheese in tinfoil but haven't tried celery. Making things from scratch is usually cheaper and always better for you! ~ Maureen

Gloria said...

The celery in tinfoil is a tip I will try, I usually wash/slice and store in plastic it keeps crisp for about a week if it's a little wet.

The only thing I would add is if you can buy in larger pkgs for instance the ground/minced beef. I'll make cook meatballs and meatloaf, shape/form patties, etc all at the same time and store in freezer what we're not eating that week. This helps with cutting down on buying takeout, too.

Kei said...

Didn't know that about celery...will try it next time we have some!

My parents handle all the food purchasing and have recently started using coupons--they have supermarket loyalty cards and every so often a selection of money off coupons appears in the post! The supermarket also tends to give coupons with purchases too--whether it's 5p off each litre of petrol or £6 off a purchase over £40 it still helps! They're not extreme couponners or anything (and I can never get coupon sites to cough up the coupons) but it's cutting down our grocery shop by a good £20-£40 each time!

We also take advantage of multibuy offers on non-perishable foodstuffs, but only the food we tend to get through a lot of (like sweetcorn, mayonnaise and pickle!)

BTW have you ever grown basil on your windowsill? Every time we try, it ends up smelling like cat wee :(

Creme Eggs are utterly wicked...and divine :D

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