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    10 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

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    10 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

    Everyone has a budget of some kind that they try to stick to or that they have to stick to. At the time of this article, in mid-2023, everything has become much more expensive, including food. It’s not just one or two items that have become more expensive but everything on the grocery store shelves has had substantial price increases. 

    For many people, this is worrisome for fear they may not be able to properly feed themselves or their family. However, you don’t have to worry because in this article I am going to share with you some strategies, all of which I have used, to save money and maximize your food budget

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    Sales, Deals And Pay Attention!

    Sales and deals on food items don’t happen all of the time and sometimes it may seem like they happen when you don’t need that particular item. However, if you are at the store and you notice a deal on an item that you don’t need now but you know you will use, pick it up or pick up multiples if you can afford to do so. You will save money in the long run. 

    Also, take advantage of rewards programs and coupons. You would be very surprised at how much money you can save or money back rewards you can earn by investing your time in these offers.

    You should also be paying attention to the amount of food in an item and its price. Usually, the items placed at eye level are the most expensive because people see those first, grab them, and move on. If you take a moment to look around you will most likely find the same brand item that offers more food at a cheaper price sitting below or above eye level. 

    The above recommendation is especially important when shopping online. Since most people have been conditioned to only accept the first few results in a search, those results can often be the most expensive. 

    For example, the other day I hopped on Amazon out of curiosity to check out some food prices. I looked up a can of chili and the result on the top of the page was for a single can of chili for $18! After about ten seconds of scrolling, I was able to find an offer with a much more reasonable price. Remember, shop around.  

    For more information on how to coupon, check out this video.

    Buy In Bulk 

    Buying in bulk has always been a great way to save money and even though the margins are tighter than they have ever been, you can still save money with this option. 

    Although it may be obvious, buying in bulk is different than buying more items on sale. Sale items only happen at certain times and usually for a reason, such as damaged goods or approaching expiration dates. However, there are certain stores like Costco and Sam's Club that specifically sell items in bulk all of the time. This allows you to purchase more at a reduced cost per unit weight or volume. 

    Some people don’t like to buy in bulk because they don’t think they have the space for it or they don’t know how to store excess amounts. Storage space can be found everywhere such as putting canned goods under a bed or in a closet. Excess foods can be stored in mylar bags, vacuumed sealed, frozen, or canned at home. I guarantee that if it's something you eat regularly, you will consume it within an acceptable time frame. 

    The last thing I wanted to mention on this topic is that the well-known big box stores are not the only places to buy bulk items. You may be surprised at the business around you that will sell bulk items if you contact them. Plus by going this route, you will be supporting your local economy

    For more information on buying food in bulk, check out this video.

    Buy Locally 

    For this option, I don’t just mean to shop at your local grocery store because in my case it’s cheaper for me to drive an extra 20 miles to buy food than to shop at the store just across town. However, some local grocery stores can be cheaper and are worth supporting. 

    What I mean is to find the local producers in your area and buy directly from them. Find people that raise livestock, and chickens, produce eggs, and honey, or someone that has a larger-than-average garden and sells roadside produce. Not only are these options usually cheaper, but the food tastes much better! A great place to start this process is to check out any local farmer’s markets. 

    Trade For Food

    Once you have found your local producers, it’s worth asking them if they would be open to trading for food. This could include trading physical items you have that they are interested in but it can also include trading your labor, time, and a skillset

    For example, years ago I knew a farmer who needed a large section of one of his fences repaired. He worked out a deal with another guy to repair the fence in exchange for half of a cow. It took the worker the entire weekend to mend the fence but he wasn’t doing anything else anyway, and he got a side of beef without having to spend several hundreds of dollars on good quality beef. 

    Save Leftovers

    I know this seems obvious, and saving leftovers is what I have always done because that is what we did when I grew up. It wasn’t until I went to a friend's house one night that I had an eye-opening experience. 

    After the meal, I watched as everyone at the table scraped mounds of food off their plates into the trash. Then the food that hadn’t been dished out was also thrown away. Needless to say, I was floored as I watched several meals' worth of food be thrown away because “nobody eats leftovers in this house.”

    I think it goes without saying you can save a lot of money by eating your leftovers instead of immediately throwing them away. 

    For more information on how to store leftovers, check out this video.

    Buy Generic 

    This option is pretty straight forward and I’m sure a lot of people already do this. I learned a long time ago to shop around and not just grab the name-brand item that was at eye level. 

    For every name-brand item, there are usually several generic options that cost less. In my opinion, the taste difference between a generic and a brand item doesn’t warrant paying more for every name-brand item that goes into your cart, which adds up quickly. 

    The one disclaimer I will mention is to check the ingredients and country of origin on items that you buy to ensure you are not sacrificing too much quality or safety. 

    Learn To Eat Less

    This is probably going to be the least popular option in this article, but hear me out because we all need some hard truths once in a while. The fact of the matter is many of us eat quite a bit more than we need, myself included. 

    Now, I’m not big on counting calories every single meal every single day but there’s nothing wrong with it if you do. I recently decided to change my diet and increase my amount of exercise to become healthier.

     I needed a baseline of where my calorie intake was so I knew how to adjust it. For my situation, I needed about 2,000 calories a day, so I recorded my normal intake for a couple of days.

    What I found was that I was consuming between 3,000-4,000 calories a day and my level of activity did not warrant that amount. By learning to eat what I need and not always what I want, I was able to drop weight and save money by not consuming as much. 

    For more information on counting your calories, check out this video.

    Eat Better Food

    Junk food, which I classify as all fast food and the majority of the food at the grocery store, is not filling. Since it is not filling you feel hungry sooner and therefore have to spend more to eat more. Try eating 1,500 calories of junk food and see how long it sticks with you versus 1,500 calories of rice, veggies, and meat. 

    Make Your Own Condiments

    Whether it's salad dressing, bbq sauce, butter, or ketchup, we all like to add a little something extra to our meals. Believe it or not, most condiments are quite easy and cheaper to make yourself and they can be much healthier. 

    To learn how to make your own condiments, check out this video

    Cook More At Home

    Cooking your meals at home has always been a money-saving tip and I believe it still applies. The two biggest excuses I have heard as to why people don’t do this are, “I don’t know how to cook” and “Cooking is too difficult.” 

    I call BS on both of those statements because I am no chef but I can make some pretty damn good food.

    Learning to cook food is easy because I’m not talking about preparing some fancy five-course meal for royalty. I’m talking about making basic items that most people eat and have almost zero learning curve. 

    As for “cooking is difficult,” nope! Cooking is not difficult, it just takes a bit of time and work so it becomes “inconvenient.” Cooking spaghetti is a great response to both of the above statements. 

    To cook spaghetti you put some water in a pot, boil it, add the noodles, cook it for around 8 minutes, drain the water, and add some sauce. 

    For more easy home recipes check out this video

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      1 thought on “10 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget”

      1. Bryan,you have some good insight! I also think you hit the nail on the head with home cooking being inconvenient! I really call it laziness because it’s too easy to buy prepared food and order food from restaurants for delivery. OCCASIONALLY I like to have prepared foods/fast foods too,but prefer home cooked meals.


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