Over the past few years, the cost of essential items such as groceries has risen substantially. This has resulted in many families having to change their eating habits just so that they can afford to put meals on the table each day. Although it may sound daunting to have to shop with a predetermined budget in mind, it actually isn’t. Below are a few great tips that will help you stay on budget while still feeding your family healthy and nutritious meals.
1. Buy Produce that is In Season Only
Many people think that in order to stay healthy, they need to eat all types of produce throughout the year. However, this can quickly drive your grocery bill up to horrendous levels. When purchasing produce, ensure that you only add in-season items to your grocery cart. This will still enable you to serve healthy meals to your family, but it will enable you to do so far more affordably.
2. Only Purchase what you will use
When shopping for fresh produce and other perishables such as milk, bread and meat, a lot of people make the mistake of purchase items that are on sale – even though they know that they won’t ever use them or get through them before they reach their expiry date. Instead, only purchase foods that you know your family eats and that you will be able to consume before it goes bad. The only time you should purchase larger quantities of items on sale is if you have the means to freeze or store them in such a way that they won’t rot before being able to be used.
3. Prepare One Meal for Everyone
Too many parents have fallen into the trap of preparing multiple meals because each family member wants something other than that which has been prepared. The only time this should be necessary is in cases where there are allergy sufferers in a family that genuinely cannot eat a particular food. Although it will take time for everyone to come around and eat what has been prepared, your grocery budget will certainly thank you in the long run for adopting this behavior.
4. Freeze Leftovers
A lot of people are in the habit of simply tossing leftovers after a meal. However, in many cases, there is enough food over to serve another full meal. While your family may object to having the same meal served two days in a row, this can be countered by freezing the leftovers and serving them the following week instead. This will also enable you to have a fast meal on hand that only required reheating – perfect for busy evenings where there isn’t enough time to cook a full meal.
5. Prepare a Weekly Meal Plan
One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t go over your grocery budget is to plan your meals a week in advance. This enables you to only purchase items that will be used within the week and it saves you having to think about what to prepare for dinner when you’re tired. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could opt to do meal planning for 2 weeks or even a month at a time as well.
6. Stock up on Sale Items
Although it was mentioned earlier to only purchase what will be used within a particular week, an exception to this is when items you use regularly go on sale. In cases like this, stocking up on multiple units of non-perishable items or foods that can be frozen will help shave a few hundred dollars a year off your grocery bill. This especially applies to items such as toilet paper, toiletry items such as soaps, toothpaste and shampoos – these items can usually be stored for quite a while.
7. Eat at Home
Many families think that it’s cheaper to purchase take outs than it is to prepare meals at home. While this may be true in the case of the dollar menus, it’s important to remember that these items are seldom healthy or nutritious. Cooking at home more will enable you to reduce your grocery bill substantially – and your family will be healthier as a result.
Implementing even a few of the measures mentioned above will help ensure that you remain within your grocery budget. This will not only help alleviate a significant amount of financial stress; it will allow you to save a little more of your hard earned cash each month as well.
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