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Tips for a smaller food budget

Most people spend a good part of their paycheck every month at the grocery store. The good news is that the amount you spend on food most probably has a lot more flexibility than you might think. There are many easy ways that you can reduce the size of your family food budget without living on bread and water.

In fact, you may find that you end up eating better and enjoying your food more. Have a look at these ideas for a smaller food budget and see which ones will work for your household.

At Home
Take an honest look at how much of the food you buy actually ends up being used. It has been reported that the average American will discard at least 25 percent of all food that they purchase. That’s one quarter of your food budget right there.

How can you stop this?
Use up what you buy. When planning dinner, take a look at what you have on hand and try to incorporate it. For example, if you overstocked on vegetables, maybe it’s time to cook up a pot of minestrone soup.

Be imaginative. If your family doesn’t like eating the same thing two nights in a row, use leftovers creatively. The remains of a roast chicken could make a dazzling comeback in a stir fry.

At the Grocery Store

Avoid shopping when you’re hungry. Hunger makes you more prone to overbuying – not good for the wallet.

Shop with a list and be flexible if there turns out to be a great deal on a product you and your family enjoy.

Purchase No-Name Brands when Feasible
Buy less meat. Using meat as a condiment to flavor nutritious, inexpensive dishes such as ragouts or fajitas will benefit your budget and your family’s health.

Minimize your shopping trips. Large grocery chains and corner mini-markets are both designed to get you to spend money on impulse buys. Stock up so you don’t have to shop as frequently.

Eating Out
Order smaller portions, share a main course, or order an appetizer as an entrée.

Eat out less and enjoy it more. Sometimes folks get stuck in a rut of going for Chinese food or pizza several times. Rethink your old routines and you may find that visiting more unusual restaurants will mean that you dine out less frequently and spend less money but get more pleasure when you do go out to eat.

Plan ahead for busy days, cook double batches when possible and freeze half. When you’ve had an extra challenging day, you can heat up supper in the microwave – faster, tastier and cheaper than picking up junk food.

Brown bag your lunches. Taking your lunch to work instead of heading for the local diner is a simple and economical solution when you think out of the box. Last night’s leftovers might be just enough for a midday meal for one. Alternatively, bring instant oatmeal or cold cereal and have breakfast for lunch.

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Grace Chen
Grace Chen - Writer & Editor
A graduate of the Haas School of Business, University of California, which is one of the top three (3) business schools in the U.S., Grace Chen has 10 years of experience in this field and have been delivering stellar business content through her written word. She’s the chief editor of Communicate Better and has written and edited thousands of content published in various online and printed media, including the NYSE-sponsored research studies and MEC Global. Connect with Grace on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-chen-9254ab8/