Couponing is becoming very popular thanks to shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing and the down economy. I think all of us want to save some money. But if you look at the products in stockpiles, like the one in the video above, you don’t see a lot of organic, real food and natural products. So is it possible to eat healthy food and save money? Yes, you aren’t likely to end up with a stockpile like the one above but you can reduce your food budget. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Meal plan. The average American family throws away 14% of their groceries away. Meal planning can help keep you from wasting food and save you money. There are many ways to meal plan. I plan a months worth of meals but I don’t pick what day we will have the meals. Some people plan a week at a time, some plan what days they will have each meal, it’s all about what works for you.
- Get creative with leftovers. This still is talking about reducing waste. Leftovers can often be made into new meals. I like to take leftover mashed potatoes and make either potato soup or even just add some seasoning and put cheese on the top for a new side dish. Leftover veggies are great for soups, leftover meat can be put in pasta, casseroles, etc.. The ideas are endless.
- Eat less meat. Meat is expensive, even more so when you start talking about organic, grass-fed, and so on. Eating less of it will help your food budget and your health. Try out Meatless Monday and also try to use meat for flavor and not as the main part of the meal. Around here we rarely eat a piece of meat as a main dish but instead I put a small amount of meat in something else, like pasta, on rice, with veggies, and so on.
- Look for sales. If you have the room, stock up on foods your family eats a lot when they go on sale. Just be sure not to buy more than you will use before it goes bad. Also be flexible when possible, I often will switch a couple of items on my list if I find something is on sale.
- Grow your own. You don’t need land to grow food, you can even put a few pots on your porch and grow a few things. Every little bit you grow is food you don’t have to buy.
- Shop your local farmer’s market. Buying directly from the farmer can help cut costs. You may also find some farmers that grow their food organically but haven’t paid to be certified so they are a bit cheaper than certified organic foods.
- Use coupons*. While there aren’t a lot of organic coupons there are some, so when you find them and they are products you really will use, use them.
- Cook from scratch when possible. Cooking from scratch is almost always cheaper than buying pre-made food and it’s better for you. It can also be fun to learn to make new foods and you will likely find most of the time the food is much better.
- Eat less. Most of us overeat, reducing what we eat to a reasonable amount will help your food budget and waist line.
- Eat in season. Produce is cheaper when it’s in season. Freezing and canning produce can help you enjoy the foods year round.
These are just a few ways to save money on food without giving up quality. Please share your ideas in the comments below.