I don’t know about you, but my husband and I are always looking for new ways to shave down our grocery bill. With a family of 5 and only one income, frugal living is not only a necessity, but a way of life for us. Over the past 15 years we have found many different strategies that have saved us money on our food budget, allowing me to be a stay-at-home homeschooling momma to our 3 children. Today I am going to be sharing 8 tips to stretch your food budget.
8 Tips to Stretch Your Food Budget
- Make sure to never leave home without a shopping list and your clipped and printable coupons. I know this might seem like common sense to many, but are you actually doing it? If you answered YES, good for you! But if not, then strive to get this to be a a regular part of your routine. Take it slow at first. Just print out a few coupons to take on items you need to buy. Then as time goes on, you’ll get a rhythm that works for you. No need to stress yourself out trying to be an extreme couponer – truth be told – that isn’t even necessary to save hundreds of dollars each month on your food bill!
- Always eat down your food before buying more. This is where the most waste comes into play. We used to just keep buying more food each week, even if we hadn’t used up everything from the week prior. However, 10 years ago, I was fed up with throwing food away and stressing out about where the money for our food was going to come from. So we began to continually eat everything down (especially the fresh produce) before buying more. This one practice alone saves us hundreds of dollars each month on our food bill!
- Never let your produce go to waste. If you have anything that is about to go bad, cut it up and freeze it for future use. By utilizing this one common sense tip, we seem to always have an abundance of frozen veggies for slow cooker and one pot meals! We use our handy Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor to chop up our veggies into perfectly sized portions and shapes for various recipes. I always buy Ziploc Gallon Freezer Bags with Double Zipper to store all of our extra produce in. I also reuse them if they are in tact to maximize savings even more!
- Freezer cooking. This is an excellent way for the frugal mom to maximize her grocery dollar. There are a slew of amazing books out there that are worth the small investment of their cost. The invaluable information that freezer cooking books can supply will help you save time and money by understanding what freezer cooking is as well as help you establish a routine that works for your family. You can read my post 15 Freezer Meal Cookbooks to Get You Started on Your Once a Month Cooking Journey to get some GREAT ideas and phenomenal recipes!
- Using Ibotta app for cash back on your groceries. The wonderful thing about Ibotta is that these are NOT coupons, it is cash back for uploading your receipts for specified products they are offering cash back on each week. For the last 4 weeks, we have been receiving $0.50 cash back for each gallon of milk we’ve purchased. And this is a wonderful thing as you typically do not find coupons for milk. Each week the deals change and you can see what stores are offering cash back for what items.
- Meal planning. I highly recommend eMeals! eMeals will not only give you several options of meal plans (ie: paleo, slow cooker, low-fat, etc), but they also give you a printable grocery list as well! Couple this with all the amazing tips in this article and you will be saving hundreds of dollars each month on your food budget!
- Using Favado to help you cut back on time locating coupons and deals at local stores. This tool has been an invaluable tool for both my husband and I as we prepare our grocery lists each week. This has helped our family of 5 purchase enough fresh organic produce and meats for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week for less than $100 each time! If you don’t already use the Favado app, I’d encourage you to sign up for this FREE app today!
- Checkout 51 is a great way to earn cash back on grocery purchases. This app can help give you a little “extra” savings on your purchases. One of their current promotions has allowed us to receive cash back on each gallon of milk we purchase. Each week the offers change and it gives you a great chance to stretch your food budget even more!
I hope that these eight ideas can help some of you learn how to stretch your food dollars. Be patient as you make changes to your existing way of thinking. Becoming frugal doesn’t happen overnight. But with hard work and dedication, you will be on your road to financial freedom before you know it!
Be sure to check out other ways to save money here.