Has been there a day when you didn’t have to spend money to buy food?
Well, I don’t think I had a day like that.
Food expenses are always part of our daily budget, some of us may even have the largest portion of their budget specifically for food.
That’s why knowing how you can save money on food can be beneficial for your wallet, and your health as well.
You might already know that we can only live without food for a very limited time, and I don’t think most of us can survive as long as Mahatma Gandhi did before when he decided not to eat anything for 21 straight days.
Well, others have tried it also and survived longer than he did, would you like to try it yourself too and see how long you can survive?
Although, they weren’t really trying to save money when they did that, but I hope you’re getting my point there.
Of course, you don’t really need to fast just to save money on food, you may not even need to limit your food intake.
Yes, you read that right. There are other ways you can do to save money on food besides reducing the food that you eat. Actually, I could think of 25 ways that you can do to save money on food right now.
25 Ways You Can Do To Save Money On Food
Double check your refrigerator and/or pantry
You might think that you may not have the things you need for your next meal, but in reality, you already have them stored in your pantry or in your refrigerator. It would be such a waste if you wouldn’t use them, right?
Make a list
Another good thing that #1 does if you do it is that you could easily make a list of the things you’ll be needing when you go buy food again. Following the list that you’ll be creating is a must if you really want to start saving money, and remember that you cannot make other purchases unless it’s on the list.
That’s why you need to know what you have and what you still need, and of course, you have to be discipline too in order to reduce your food expenses.
Have a budget to follow
Plan your meals
A good way to save money on food without reducing your food intake is by planning your meals ahead. You can plan your meals for the whole week, so that you can buy all the things you need with just a single trip to the grocery or supermarket.
Limit the time you go to the grocery or food market
Going to the grocery or food market more than twice per week could cost you more money because of two reasons:
- You increase your chances of spending more than you really need
- You spend more on transportation expenses
Look for cheap food markets
The grocery store you’re buying from isn’t the only place you could buy food, you should try to find another store that offers the same products you need, but sells them for a lower price. Try to talk with your friends where they buy theirs, or ask around your neighborhood, and maybe they know somewhere cheaper.
You could also search it online, Mr. Google may help you with it.
If you think that you are already buying from the cheapest store in town, then you can just ignore this advice.
Go alone when you shop
It may cost you a lot more if you bring your spouse or children with you when you go grocery shopping because they may pick up things at the supermarket that could make you exceed your budget, so just go alone.
If you need any assistance, I’m sure the clerks there can help you out.
Don’t shop when you are hungry
Going shopping when you’re hungry is really a bad idea because you increase the chances of you overspending on things or making impulse purchases.
Yahoo News have published an article about a study that was done, and it states that you might purchase more high-calorie foods when you shop hungry.
Well, you don’t want to gain extra weight and lose your hard-earned money all at the same time, right?
Buy in-season products
Buying in-season products will surely cost less helping you save more money. That’s why you should know the products that are available each season, so that you could plan your meals properly.
Buy in bulk
You may have read this one before, and I just want to tell you that it’s really a good way to save money when it comes to almost anything, especially with food. You could even get discounts or freebies once you start buying in bulk.
Buy frozen instead of fresh
This one also has a simple reason behind it. Frozen food are less expensive than fresh ones and they last longer, that’s why it’s better for you if you’re going to buy frozen food instead.
Don’t always buy branded products
If you’re always buying branded products and you’re not even looking for alternatives, then you’re doing it the wrong way. You should compare both products and if they are almost similar, then you should just buy the non-branded item because it’ll most likely cost less than the branded one.
Some grocery stores or warehouses may also offer their own products under their name, and these items may be the cheapest of the bunch. If you’re okay in using those kind of products, then you might be better off buying those instead.
Reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages
Always check the expiration date of the items you buy
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You don’t want to eat or buy a product that is already or is about to be expired. You’ll be saving a lot of money on food if you’re going to buy products that have long expiration dates.
Learn to haggle
Haggling is fun, but it’s more fun if you’re good at it and you’re able to get a good deal every time you shop around. Having a friendly face and being a good speaker can increase your chances of striking a favourable deal. Although, you can only do this if you’re shopping in a place where there’s no final price specified, like in the farmer’s market.
Get a loyalty or rewards card
Most groceries/supermarkets may offer a card that their loyal customers can use to save money or earn freebies every time they shop there. If you do all your shopping in one place, then getting one of those cards can be a smart thing for you to do.
I’m sure you’ll be able to find a few, and once you really search for them you could find a lot. That means you’ll enjoy more saving, so start collecting those coupons now.
The Penny Pinchin’ Mom and the Krazy Coupon Lady may help you out with this one.
Pack your lunch
Are you working at an office outside your home?
If you are, then maybe you have already seen some of your co-workers eating food that they personally prepared at home. You might see them as students who are trying hard to save money, but they are not really students, they’re just your co-workers who are better than you when it comes to saving money.
Fortunately for you, it really is not that hard to prepare your lunch at home, unless you don’t know how to cook.
Learn to cook
If you’re always buying prepared food then you’re probably not doing a good job reducing your food expenses. Give some of your time learning how to cook, so that you could also prepare your own lunch and limit the times that you take out food.
Recycle your leftovers
Avoid buying from fast food chains
You might think that you’re saving money by buying fast food meals, but the truth is you’re really not. Fast food meals are unhealthy and expensive because you don’t know what the ingredients they are using to make their meals, and I bet you could make most of them at your home with less the cost. All you need to do is be resourceful enough.
Avoid dining out too often
Another thing you need to avoid if you want to save money on food is dining out too often with your family or friends. You would always spend too much when you dine out rather than when you dine in your own home because of the charges most restaurant add and the way they price their meals. But if ever you decide to dine out…
…Be in a group
Dining out in a group can help you reduce your food expenses because you can share the bill with your friends or even family members. It’s always cheaper that way because you can order up a group meal that most restaurant/bars offer nowadays than buying each of your meals separately.
Pay with cash
Grow your own vegetables
If you have a little yard or if you can fit some plant boxes in your home, then maybe you could try to grow your own vegetables. Just buy some pots and seeds at your local store, plant and nurture them properly, and after several weeks, you’ll be cooking one of your home-grown vegetables.
Laurie of TheFrugalFarmer.net had an article on how to plan for a large vegetable garden, you should read that if you want to grow your own vegetables from now on and you have a large space for you to start.
See, we can all save money on food without reducing the food that we eat or by fasting. Although fasting can really help you save money, I don’t think one should sacrifice his needs just to save money.
There are other alternatives out there, and I’m pretty sure you know at least one or two more things that you can do to save money on food that are not included in the list above.
So, what are the ways you and your family are doing to save money on food nowadays? Are they helping you reduce your food expenses effectively?