Wealthy or not, we are all on the look-out for ways to reduce spending in this recession. Some of the obvious ways include:
• Reduce eating out: Eating out is hard on the budget and also high in calories. When you cook at home you can make larger portions to freeze for later, as well as cook in a way that is calorie-saving and flavored how you like it.
• Clip coupons: Remember to make a list of the items you need and not to clip coupons for things you would never normally buy. Also, check to see which stores double-coupons to double your savings. For more extreme tips check out some of the recent coupon shows about extreme couponing. Some extreme couponers get their entire grocery order for free!
• Scan sale ads: Look to stock up on things you know your family will be using when they go on super-sale rather than waiting till you are out of these items and buying them at full price.
• Start with bargain stores: The dollar store is one of many bargain places that sell food items, often second-hand. Remember to check the expiration dates but this food should be worth a try. Also, the dollar store is now accepting coupons!
Finally, be realistic and honest with yourself. While we would all prefer fresh produce over canned or frozen, if you are consistently buying vegetables and then throwing them out, it may be more cost effective to buy them frozen and cook them when you are ready.
Also, if you continue to buy fruit or salad mix that you think you will take the time to wash and cut up but never do…remember that pre-cut and pre-packaged fruit and salad will be more worthwhile than the fruits and vegetables that are purchased and then thrown away. Sometimes convenience is worth paying a little extra for.
Evaluate which items would be best for you to buy in a different fashion in order to reduce waste. Wasted food, especially healthy food is havoc on your diet and your budget…a penny wasted certainly isn’t a penny saved.
All in all, you need to think about what your current food purchasing and eating habits are and evaluate where the biggest problems are and then plan on the way to best resolve these issues.
Plan your week. Planning ahead, above all, will keep you from feeling as overwhelmed when you shop. Also remember things change so make sure to track your foods as you go.
Finally, remember to appreciate the food that you have. If you need a reminder, read more about, or even TRY the “Food Stamp Challenge” or the “Live Below the Line Challenge” to see just how hard it is for many Americans to feed their families and themselves.
…After challenging yourself to ration the cheapest foods available, you’ll most likely have a far greater appreciation for the next salad you are served!