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Five Ways to Save Money on Food

The number one way to save money is by learning how to cook. You might have a hectic schedule and be exhausted at the end of the day but push yourself to prepare a nice meal. You’ll get to enjoy it, expand your knowledge about cooking, and eat better than ordering it from some fast food place. You won’t be good at it in the beginning but over time your skills will improve and you’ll enjoy it even more.

Use a Leftover Calendar

The #2 tip by Eating Well was to minimize waste and we do this by using a leftover calendar [3]. It’s part meal planning calendar, part leftover calendar because we record what nights we’ve cooked certain meals. This gives us an idea of which meals are getting close to spoilage and we eat those first, rather than the ones that are closest to the front of the shelf in the refrigerator.

Learn to Butcher a Chicken

I’m always amazed when I see chicken breasts for sale at a grocery store for $5 a pound when, right next to them, are over roasters at 99 cents a pound. Part of the price difference has to do with the cheaper cuts on the chicken, and the bones and sweetbread, but if you learn how to butcher a chicken [4] you can save yourself a ton of money. You also get lovely bones to make your own stock, which I find to be fun.

Making Your Own Pizza

We love making pizza at home, their #5 tip, because it’s so easy. We don’t make the dough, we cheat and buy it from the grocery store, but we get fresh ingredients and some Don Pepino’s pizza sauce to make ours. We get to control the quality of the ingredients and we get to save a little money, as pizza is really cheap to make. Not only that but we get piping hot pizza that’s right out of the oven prepared the exact way we like it.

Go Almost Vegetarian

Their number one tip is to go vegetarian a few nights a week and while we’ve tried to go this route in the past, it’s usually lasted only a short while. Our tip is to try to go heavy on the vegetables and a little lighter on the meat, but still incorporate it in your meals. We’ve gone with eggplant dishes cooked with ground pork, which gives us a big portion of eggplant with just a little bit of pork. We’ve done the same with tofu, green beans, and other vegetables with good success. It’s hard to go completely vegetarian but just a little bit of meat can go a long way.

Grow Your Own

If you have the room, try growing your own vegetables. The best yielding plant is the tomato, if you can avoid killing it, and a home grown tomato tastes entirely different than one you buy at the store. When you let it ripen on the vine, the flavors are far more intense and it’ll make the grocery store tomato taste like water. We usually grow tomatoes, a variety of herbs [5], and some other fun things just to try them out.

Fun tip: I had read that if you chop the ends off scallions and dip them in water until their roots regrow, you can plant them and they will regrow. I did it on a whim and it actually worked, it’s pretty amazing. That won’t save you much money but if you have extra space you aren’t using, it’s worth trying out just to be surprised like I was.

Do you have a good money saving tip for food?

(Photo: betsyjean79 [6])