How to Save Money on Food Costs
A Small Change in Eating and Dining Habits Can Yield Huge Savings on Food Costs
After housing and vehicle costs, food is one of the next largest expenses. Lowering food costs by a few dollars a day can put an extra $100 or more in your savings account each month. We've compiled a list of ways to lower your food costs.
Ways to Save Money on Food:
- Start by eating at home more often.
- Bring your own lunch to work. If this is too hard, try bringing your own lunch to work 2-3 days a week.
- Buy food in bulk at a wholesale club.
- Shop at less expensive grocery stores. Whereas a family shopping trip to Whole Foods runs around $200, the same amount of food from Aldi's would cost around $40.
- Use coupons. Get coupons in the mail, online and at the store. Plan out which coupons you can work into your grocery list. If your store has a double coupon day, try to take advantage of it. Many stores take coupons from mobile apps so make sure you find a good smartphone app to help you save on food.
- Cook food in bulk. Making big batches of food often saves money. Make food that freezes well and that can be taken to work or easily cooked when you get home. For example, burritos freeze well. Also, you can make a dozen or so pizza crusts, par-bake them and then freeze them for future use.
- Get a deep freeze. Compared to a regular refrigerator freezer, deep freezes do not go through the defrost cycle and therefore keep food fresh for much, much longer. Also, you'll have room to freeze your bulk purchases, garden yield, and any great deals you find.
- Forego meat a few meals a week and eat an alternative protein source. Beans are high in protein and fiber and are very inexpensive. If you're a real meat lover, you can find ways to turn inexpensive cuts into tender dishes using slow cooker recipes, tenderizing, or finding good marinades.
- Buy the store brand instead of the name brand. For example, Target's Archer Farms brand is usually 20-40% cheaper than name brands. Every store has its own brand.
- When you eat out, look for coupons. More importantly, watch what you order. Skip the salad and dessert and you could easily save $10 on food and tip.
- Keep a well stocked pantry. Have spices, canned, and dry goods ready, so that when you don't feel like going to the grocery store you can make yourself dinner instead of ordering food.
- Make your own bread. If you have the time, making bread only takes a few minutes of prep time. It takes a few hours to rise, but the cost of homemade bread is less than a dollar (will save you 70-80%).
- Plant a garden. You only need a small area to grow a lot of healthy vegetables. One healthy tomato plant can yield a tomato a day in the summer.
- Plant future bearing trees and bushes such as dwarf fruit trees, blueberry bushes, asparagus and rhubarb. They can be intertwined with your landscaping and provide years of food savings.
- Track your food and eating costs before and after you use these techniques to find out how much money you have saved. Seeing the savings add up will give you motivation to keep up the good work and find additional savings. You could put all the savings into a vacation account or use it to pay down any debt you have.
- Want more ideas on how to save? Visit our main page filled with ways to save money.