Are Rising Grocery Prices Destroying your Budget? Stretch your Meals with These Tips
Most grocery items have experienced steep increases in pricing over the past year or two, making it more difficult than ever for families to make ends meet when shopping for food – and in many cases, purchasing less food simply isn’t an option, especially for larger families.
If you’ve been feeling the financial pinch each time you’ve been grocery shopping recently, these tips can help stretch the food you buy – which will in turn give your budget somewhat of a reprieve as well:
Keep Breakfast Cheap
Breakfast is a meal that can be kept quite simple, while still being filling and taking up the smallest part of your food budget. For instance, oatmeal, toast and eggs are among some of the cheapest foods available and they are all filling as well. Including these breakfast options will help slash your food budget substantially.
Stock Up on Low-cost Staples
Whole grains such as dried legumes; oats, rice, quinoa and millet remain inexpensive as well, despite price hikes on fresh foods and meat products. These can all be used as filler ingredients when preparing dishes containing meat, which will allow you to use less meat per meal.
In cases where canned goods such as tuna, beans and other foods that your family eats are on sale at good prices, it’s a good idea to stock up on them – they can often be combined with the above-mentioned dry foods as well.
Freeze Leftovers Promptly
One of the most common contributors to food waste is leftover portions that get left to languish at the back of the refrigerator. Instead, these should be frozen as soon as they’re cool enough and labeled well. This will not only prevent food from being thrown away because it’s gone bad; having frozen leftovers on hand will allow you to grab a portion and reheat it for dinner on a busy night as well.
Get Into the Habit of Meal Planning
Without a meal plan on hand, food will quickly get forgotten about – and end up being tossed. Sitting down and preparing a weekly meal plan will allow you to only purchase the items needed for those dishes you intend preparing that week. For further savings, consider planning meals around foods that are on sale each week.
Use Seasonal Produce
Although it may initially be difficult to change from your favorite fruit and veggies, focusing on using produce seasonally will shave hundreds of dollars from your grocery bill each year. Just one example is apples that will cost just a few dollars per bag during fall, and shoot up to as much as $10 per bag during summer.
Stretching ground beef with items such as lentils, rice or even quinoa will also go a long way in helping to shave the cost of your grocery bill. Implementing even one or two of these tips will see your food lasting a lot longer than usual as well.