Download the homework for this lesson:
How to Maximize Your Food Budget Without Feeling Like You’re Scrimping
Cooking at home is one of the most fun ways to spend time with your family. Include everyone! You’ll be surprised at how much more fun it is to create meals from scratch. Get your inspiration from the casual restaurants that you frequent with your family, and look up a recipe for the menu item you’re most likely to order.
You know your freezer. It’s the thing that sits above/below/to the left of your refrigerator. The thing that stores ice cream? Yes, but of course it stores so much more! Look for sales at the grocery store and buy in bulk. Make a bunch of sauce and freeze some of it. Then, use your freezer. This might sound silly, but most of us are way better at putting things into the freezer than we are at getting things out of it, and that’s a shame. Your freezer will save you when you’re exhausted.
When was the last time you took a $10 bill out of your wallet, crumpled it up, then threw it away?
Never… that’s the answer we’re looking for. But when you buy groceries and let them go to waste, that’s exactly what you’re doing. How do you keep from throwing away perfectly good food? We have some ideas:
- Buy less than you think you’ll need for the week. If the worst thing that happens is you have to go back to the store on Thursday to replenish your produce, pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
- Process your veggies as soon as you get home. That won’t help with the “going bad” rate, since cut vegetables spoil before whole ones, but what it does is give you a physical reminder of what you have to work with. Plus, since you’ve done some work, you’re less likely to have that work go bad than if you just threw a head of lettuce into the dark recesses of your fridge.
- Keep a list. If your refrigerator likes to hide things, it’s in your best interest to know what’s inside! Clip a list to your fridge and cross things off once you’ve eaten them.
Want to get into meal planning?
Try Erin Chase’s $5 Meal Plan. She’ll set you up with a shopping list and recipes for delicious, affordable meals. There’s a free 14-day trial. Join here.
Does the idea of planning 15-20 meals a week give you hives? The easiest solution is to stop doing that much meal planning. Eat the same thing for breakfast every day. Now you don’t have to plan breakfast! Now, plan your dinners, and make enough so you can have leftovers for lunch the next day.
That got easier, didn’t it?
Couponing has gotten a bad rap lately, and it’s easy to see why. You watch even part of one of those reality shows and you think, “I’m never going to do that… I’m not the kind of person who can buy 100 sticks of deodorant… so I’m never going to clip coupons.”
But you don’t have to be extreme to save money at the grocery store. Check online, check the circulars when you walk in the door, and only use coupons for the things that were on your shopping list to begin with!