With the troubling economy and unemployment rates at a higher than average level, people are looking for ways to cut costs where ever they can. Everyone needs to eat. There are ways to cut back and make the most out of your food budget. If you’re willing to work towards the cost savings, you can find rewards. Investments that help make the most of your food budget include a Food saver or similar device that vacuum-packs food, food processor, and a deep freezer.
The deep freezer allows you to hold more food in cold storage and saving it until you need it for a longer time. At our home, we have two of them (both were inherited).
The food processor, allows you to make the most of the food products, pureeing them to use in soups and stocks and adding to their nutritional value and enhancing flavor. For example, pureeing garlic or onions can add flavor to any dish. Once pureed, place plastic wrap in an ice cube tray and add a tablespoon or more of each into one of the trays. Cover with a zip lock bag so the odor doesn’t affect your other food items and freeze. Once frozen, empty the tray to add more. This can be done to carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, etc for instant mixing to other dishes. The carrots and other items can be shredded or julienned and frozen to be added to other dishes.
The food saver helps in buying bulk and cutting it down to appropriate servings. The culture in North American tends to lend itself to overeating. By portioning out the food, you have enough for your family with out adding to the waistline. My family and I will often visit a food warehouse such as Sam’s Club or CostCo and buy a large shoulder roast and cut it down to steaks or smaller roasts. A $22 shoulder roast, can be cut down to about 36 steaks. A single chicken, can be cut down to 2 legs, 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, and 1 back). Depending on the size of your family (just you or more) you can determine the serving size. The back can be boiled and used as chicken stock for future soups and stews. Chickens are significantly cheaper whole then cut up.
For my vegetarian friends: Dried beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein. Buying in bulk and zip locking distribution sizes so that you have enough. It’s always a good idea when money is plentiful, to stock up on standard items – canned beans, dried bean, canned veggies, pasta, rice, etc. S0 that when money is tight you have something to fall back on.
Cheap places to get food:
- I’ve mentioned before the grocery warehouses. These places often require a membership fee and unless you go often, it may not be worth it.
- Local farmer’s markets. I adore them. You are buying locally and helping out independent farmers as well.
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): By paying in, participants receive packages of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and some ma received eggs, bread, dairy, and meat products.
- Community/Communal Gardening: By working the land, you can reap its rewards. You can do it at home, if you have a yard, or by participate in neighborhood gardening projects.
- Larger grocery stores: You don’t have to buy a paper to get the coupons. Visit your store, or preview the sales online before venturing out. The store’s home brand may be cheaper than the more familiar brands. Generics are NOT always cheaper. Take a close look at the cost per ounce, you might be surprised by costs savings.
- Aldi Z and other food wholesalers. Many of the stores are cash only and you pay for the extras like bags and carts. If you bring your own bag and shop wisely, their prices may afford you some of life’s luxuries.
- Smart shopping. By buying what you need, you will have less waste for our landfills and more money in your pocketbook.
- Don’t fill up on junk food. By buying “real” food, you will feel better and so will your pocketbook.