The most flexible area of any household budget is in the area of food purchasing. Saving money on grocery costs will free up a significant amount of money and is the quickest way to balancing the budget, or beginning to fund a savings account.
The easiest way to save money is to eliminate the luxury of eating out. Period. If that’s not possible, then treat yourself to a dinner out once a month. Make it a special occasion for your family. Everyone will appreciate a meal in a restaurant much more when it’s not taken for granted. Treat it as a “quality time out”. Don’t forget to search for coupons for local restaurants in order to get the best deal possible.
At home, work to minimize the use of high cost convenience foods. – Make it from scratch yourself for a fraction of the cost. We get so used to convenience foods that we forget how much better it tastes when we make it from scratch. There are substitute recipes available on the internet for everything from baking mixes to shake and bake and salad dressing. It just takes a little extra time. Go ahead and pay yourself for doing the cooking – you’ll still come out ahead.
Take time to search the newspapers and do research for coupons on the internet. Plan menus around the weekly sales flyers from grocery stores. Taking a little extra time in planning menus will help you save more, eat better and reduce the food budget!
Try to include meatless meals once or twice each week. Beans and rice are a nutritious, low-cost example. Egg dishes are a nice change in routine for dinner. Another idea to incorporate might be a vegetable stir-fry or vegetarian casserole.
Avoid pre-packaged mixes for cakes, breads, muffins, pastry, pizza dough, pancake, and waffles. Bake these from scratch for not much more effort and a lot less money!
Coupons are widely available in your newspaper, magazines and local flyers, and with a little time each week you can begin to accumulate a coupon file that will save a significant amount on your grocery bill over time.