Life / Money

Eat on a budget: 4 ways to save money on food

You need to eat but that doesn’t mean you get carte blanche to spend whatever you want at the grocery store.

Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just about knowing what you’re going to eat, when and how much, writes Desirae Odjick.

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Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just about knowing what you’re going to eat, when and how much, writes Desirae Odjick.

Food is one of those expensive and yet not-at-all-optional line items in everyone’s monthly budget.

You need to eat but that doesn’t mean you get carte blanche to spend whatever you want at the grocery store, or that you need to spend a fortune on food.

Since extreme couponing isn’t for everyone, here are four manageable ways you can scale down your food spending (without living on rice and beans).

Find new recipes

When you’re reading recipes, ask yourself how many of the ingredients you already have, and more importantly, how many of the ingredients you’ll ever use again. There’s nothing frugal about an $8 tin of wasabi paste if you only use it once.

Plus, there are plenty of healthy and delicious recipes built with common, tasty and affordable ingredients.

Shop more efficiently

You don’t need to go to extremes to save money on food. There are a few tricks anyone can add to their grocery-shopping game to spend less without much extra time or effort:

Know your local options — It’s probably not worth trekking across town to find a deal, but you should get familiar with all your local stores. A little bit of shopping around could save you a lot.

Use couponing apps — These days, you don’t need to spend an hour leafing through flyers to find deals. Flipp is a couponing app that amalgamates all of your local flyers and deals, so you can search for sales on things you need, in under 60 seconds.

Make a meal plan — and a list

Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just about knowing what you’re going to eat, when and how much.

Once you’ve got a plan in place, you can make a grocery list based on how much food you need and cross things off the list that you won’t eat in time.

And you should always check what you have in the house before hitting the store.

Cut back on expensive items

The first step to cutting down on expensive food items is knowing how much things cost. To do that, all you have to do is read your receipts.

You might be surprised at which food items are really driving up your spending, and you’ll be equipped to make the sometimes-tough choices about how much you want to spend on them.

It might mean switching up your snack choices or eating less meat, but if it can free up money for other goals? It could be more than worth it.

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