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Reduce Your Food Bill: 8 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Costs

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 07/19/2012 @ 12:15 pm In Frugal Living | 12 Comments

Everyone knows that food prices inflation [3] is likely. After all, prices always seem to go up. However, even without food prices inflation, you are likely paying more than you need to when it comes to feeding your family. If you want to slash your food bill, here are 8 easy things you can do:

1. Create a Meal Plan

One of the reasons we rush off to buy pre-made food is due to lack of planning. Look at your schedule and create a meal plan. Include easy to make meals for days when you are busy, or consider using a slow cooker that can be preparing your entrees while you are doing other things. When you know what’s coming, it’s easier to make food at home.

2. Shop with a List — and on a Full Stomach

Psychologically, you are more likely to impulse shop and buy more food than you need when you shop on an empty stomach. Make a list of what you need for the week’s meals (use your meal plan to help you), and stick to it. The EPA estimates that Americans waste $100 billion in food each year; only buy what you need, so that your money isn’t wasted.

3. Buy Seasonal Produce

Make an effort to buy seasonal produce. It’s cheaper than buying items out of season. You can also save by buying local in some cases, since you won’t be paying for shipping costs. (If you want to put in more time and effort, you can save more on produce by starting a garden [4].)

4. Consider Items that Last Longer

Some foods last longer than others. If you get off track with your meal plan, or something unexpected happens, you can avoid waste by choosing items that last longer. Apples, oranges, and root vegetables (parsnips, potatoes, carrots, etc.) all last a reasonably long time, but still offer you nutritional value.

5. Do It Yourself

Whether it’s cubing or shredding cheese, making pasta sauce, brewing coffee, or baking cookies, you can save money by doing it yourself. Convenience always costs more. Plan a little time to shred a large amount of cheese (and freeze some for later). Brew your own coffee, rather than buy it. Bake cookies from scratch rather than buy pre-made dough. You’ll ¬†save a great deal of money when you cook as much as possible from scratch.

6. Filter Your Own Water

The cost of bottled water starts to add up. Instead, buy a nice bottle, and re-fill it. You can get a filter for your home, or just use the tap, if you don’t mind it. A little outlay can go a long way toward helping you save money on water.

7. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Speaking of water, you can save money each year by cutting out your habit of drinking sugary drinks. Soda and sports drinks all have high calories — and they cost more than drinking water from the tap. If you want a little flavor, you can occasionally add fresh fruit. I like to add a slice of lemon or lime to my water, or sometimes a piece of crushed watermelon.

8. Buy in Bulk

While there are some things you don’t want to buy in bulk [5], there are some foods that are cheaper if you buy them in bulk. Buy on sale and in bulk, and you will save money over time as you use your food storage for meals.

What is your best tip for saving money on food?

(Photo: Secret Tenerife [6])


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[3] food prices inflation: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/ready-food-prices-inflation.html

[4] starting a garden: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/tips-starting-garden.html

[5] buy in bulk: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/buy-bulk.html

[6] Secret Tenerife: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tenerife/1452161601/

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