Whatever your budget, everyone wants to feed their family as well as they possibly can.
With the food budget making up a large proportion of most people’s monthly spending, costs can quickly ramp up.
Many families routinely waste food or rely on pricey convenience foods, which is an extremely expensive way to eat.
However, there are plenty of ways to significantly slash your food spend without going hungry or missing out on much-loved favorites.
Here are some simple tips for saving money and getting your food budget back under control.
1. Ditch the sliced meats
Sliced meats are certainly convenient, especially if you’re making packed lunch sandwiches for lots of hungry kids.
However, they’re also one of the most expensive ways to buy meat.
The solution is to buy whole cuts of meat or a whole turkey or chicken and cook it at home.
Then, it’s just a matter of slicing it up and freezing it in portions for when you need it to put in salads or sandwiches.
You’ll get far more meat for your money and a whole cut may last you for weeks.
As an added bonus, you won’t be eating any of the many additives that are often added to pre-cooked meat products.
2. Embrace your inner veggie
Although many of us love our meat, the fact is that vegetarian sources of protein are often much cheaper.
In particular, beans of all kinds are a cheap and delicious way to feed your family.
Even better, they have a whole host of health benefits and count as a portion of vegetables.
To save money using this tip, you don’t need to go full-on vegetarian. Even swapping a couple of meaty meals a week for veggie options can save you some serious cash.
Can’t bear the thought of meals without meat?
Try making your meat go further by padding recipes with cooked beans or lentils.
Adding them to ground beef recipes, like chili or meat sauce, can create many more portions for the same amount of meat.
3. Befriend your freezer
Believe it or not, your freezer is your secret weapon when it comes to saving money on food.
Foods such as vegetables and frozen fish portions are often significantly cheaper than their fresh counterparts.
Frozen food often has a very high nutritional content because it’s frozen while still very fresh.
Instead of throwing away leftovers, put them in the freezer for a quick and convenient meal whenever you need it.
Just remember to keep track of what you’ve got in there with a list.
Otherwise, you’ll put something delicious in the freezer and forget you’ve got it!
4. Stop wasting bread
Many families find themselves unable to finish a whole loaf of bread before it goes moldy.
This can add up to a lot of moldy bread (and money) thrown in the trash every year.
If this sounds familiar, try freezing half of your loaf of bread straight after you buy it and don’t defrost it until you’ve run out of the fresh stuff.
You’ll waste less and save a little in the process.
If you do allow the bread to go stale but catch it before it goes moldy, you can use it to make breadcrumbs for a variety of recipes.
5. Cut back on ready-prepared meals
If you have a busy lifestyle, this is easier said than done.
However convenient they may be, ready-prepared meals are a very expensive way to feed your family and often contain more additives, salt, and sugar than you’d really want.
What’s the solution?
Try batch cooking to make life simpler.
Whenever you cook a recipe, make double the amount and freeze the other half in portions.
That way, you’ve got a ready supply of home-cooked meals on hand whenever life gets busy and you just don’t have time to prepare food from scratch.
The bottom line
With a few simple tips and tricks, it’s actually easy to save money on your food bills and cut out the waste in the process.
Owning a freezer already puts you one step closer to avoiding overspending.
Not only will you have more money in your pocket, but you might find that you actually eat a little healthier too.