Balancing your household grocery budget can be a challenge, especially when you consider the rising cost of some popular foods. Add in growing children with big appetites, and you might be facing a hefty grocery bill that adds up quickly. However, there are a few ways you can lower your food bill and give you some wiggle room within your budget to add to your savings for your kids’ futures or for that family vacation you have all been dreaming of.
1. Track the Food in Your Home
If you carefully tuck away leftovers in your fridge only to toss them out a few weeks later because they were forgotten, it can be a serious waste of money. Not only are you neglecting to use food that could be reheated or made into a secondary meal later in the week, you are wasting money and energy by storing food you end up throwing out.
You can cut down on food waste by tracking items more carefully once they enter your fridge or pantry. Before you shop, make note of the food you already have and which items need replacing right away. For example, if you have nine eggs left out of a pack of 18, use up the ones you already have instead of buying a new carton. This can prevent spoilage and the wasted food that might be affecting your grocery budget.
2. Cut Back on Beef
If you were raised on beef as a child, you might think it is necessary at the dinner table at least a few times a week. However, not only is beef expensive, it is not as healthy as other meat choices, such as fish and chicken. Cutting back on meals that include beef can lower your grocery bill, even if you eliminate one or two dishes.
Taking the time to find new recipes that include chicken, fish, or shrimp may inspire you to buy these ingredients more often. There are thousands of free recipe ideas online you can try, and you may even discover some new favorites, even if you still decide to cook that roast every Sunday.
3. Manage Your Produce Properly
If you love the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables, you might find yourself caught between their delicious taste and how quickly they spoil. Many have a very limited window, so managing how quickly you can use them might go a long way in avoiding produce waste.
For example, spinach, bananas, berries, and avocados usually spoil the fastest and should be used within at least three days of purchase. Other produce, such as pineapples, peaches, different types of apples, and plums tend to last longer. Make a list of what you have purchased and leave it on the fridge so you can remind yourself to use perishable items right away.
4. Find Discounts Elsewhere in Your Budget
If you find yourself in need of extra grocery money during the month, you may be able to free some up by finding ways to save elsewhere. You can accomplish this by packing work lunches instead of eating out, carpooling, and cutting impulse buying by leaving your credit cards at home when you shop. Ask your local insurance agency about any discounts you might earn by running a carpool or if doing so will affect your current policy.
5. Avoid Packaged Dinners
Packaged meals can be expensive and filled with preservatives that might affect your family’s health. You can lower your grocery bill and eat healthier by cooking meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, and they do not have to be complicated recipes. Simple stir fry meals made with canola or peanut oil can be as tasty as pre-packaged fare, and just as simple to prepare.
Saving money on your grocery bill can be a challenge, especially when you are feeding a growing family. However, there are a few strategies you can use to save money and discover new and delicious meals you can all enjoy.