Saving on food is imperative to keeping a reasonable budget. Some simple actions are needed to ensure you are not overspending or even wasting money on food. These 13 frugal tips to control food spending should help you to create more savings and enjoy life a bit more.
1. Create A Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan can be one of the best uses of time and savings on your food spending. You can create a list of what food is needed for the week, purchase it, and allow the food to last that week without going out and buying more. It is said, “failure to plan is planning to fail.” So with a good meal plan, you can save more money.
2. Meal Prep
Meal prep is one of the best ways to control food spending. This can be done quickly on a Sunday by cooking some great food that is a part of your meal plan, putting them into containers, and either freezing some or leaving them in your refrigerator to use for the next couple of days. With so many great recipes to create a good meal plan, you prep a whole week's worth of lunches and be good to go.
3. Set a Budget
Budgeting is something that should be done with food purchases. You will be amazed at home much food you may buy without a list or a budget. So always create a budget for going out to eat, buy food at the supermarket, and plan accordingly to avoid spending too much. Staying within budget limits will allow you to control monthly food spending.
4. Utilize Your Freezer
The freezer can be one of the best ways to save money on food. It can be used to store frozen foods, but you could make food for the whole week, freeze some meals, and heat them up later. You can also include many items you could use throughout the month, like frozen blueberries or vegetables.
5. Know About The Sales
One of the best frugal tips to control food spending is knowing when the sales come up. Many grocery stores, like Publix, will have periodic sales on different items throughout the year. It is a great way to take advantage of these sales on food that you would usually purchase. If it is to buy one get one free, you can double up on the item without spending more.
6. Eat Less Meat
One of the most costly items on anyone's grocery list is meat. Meat can be expensive depending on what you buy. Can tuna have a different price than fresh tuna? Steaks can cost a lot more than getting some ground chuck. If you can buy less meat and eat more vegetables and fruit, you can save a ton of money.
Many people will have a hard time eating less meat, but it can also benefit your body. Save some money by eating less meat.
7. Sign-Up For Loyalty Cards
Loyalty cards can be a great way to save money on food spending. Many grocery stores like Kroger's have loyalty memberships. You can get points or even have sales on items for using your loyalty card. It is a way for grocery stores to keep their customers coming back. You can sign-up for many loyalty cards and start to check out the sales at each store and get the best deal possible.
8. Buy Generic Brands
Many name-brand items will have a higher cost than those store-branded generic items. The products are essentially the same, so why go with the lower price of the generic brand? That is one frugal tip that can save big on your grocery bill.
9. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk on items that you use often can be a massive cash saver. Items that can be on sale or even buy one get one free can be a great way to buy many if you use the items often enough. It can save you money as you do not have to buy it at full price, and you do not need to go to the grocery store to buy it often.
10. Use Warehouses
Many wholesale warehouses have sprung up in the last twenty to thirty years providing many people with savings opportunities. These can be places like Costco or Sam's Club. You can then buy items in bulk and take advantage of the better pricing compared to some smaller grocery stores.
11. Shop Once A Week
Grocery shopping every day can be costly in time and money. If you have a list of what you need according to your meal plan, you can buy all your necessary items for the week in one day. That cuts down on going to the store often and buying unnecessary items. Save more money by shopping once a week.
12. Compare Unit Prices
A frugal tip that is often overlooked is comparing unit prices. Many store items will have weight, and you can compare the cost depending on the units or weight you are getting. You are paying much more if a particular item is the same price but a smaller portion. As shrinkflation has come about, it is best to compare some of these unit prices to get the best deal.
13. Shop After Eating
Many people go to the grocery store when they are hungry. At this point, you will want to eat anything and will grab so many different items that are not necessary. If you have already eaten and are full, you can control what you need as you go shopping.
Eat before you shop. It saves big on your wallet.
Time to Save Big on Food
Those were 13 frugal tips to control food spending. It can be hard sometimes, as inflation has affected the prices a lot, but if you use these tips or at least a few tips, you can save more than you realize. Each month your food spending with be decreased, which can allow for more money to be saved. So take advantage of planning and any sales that could happen.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.