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Want to Save Money? Cut Your Food Costs [Senior Finances]

Jan 31, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Houston

The first place we turn to when saving money is miscellaneous expenses. But what about the ways we’re wasting money everyday, without even realizing it?

One of these ways is with our food. Laziness and ineffective planning can lead to us going out to eat too often, buying overpriced foods at the store and sticking to the more-expensive prepackaged meals. What if there was a way to stay organized and save some effort, without burning through your wallet?

With the right mindset, it can be done, and can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Here are some tips to get you started:

Go in with a plan.

Going to the grocery store with no list and no plan of the meals you want to have this week is the same thing as going to the grocery store hungry: you want everything in sight and end up impulse buying (a problematic way to waste money), while neglecting to buy the things you actually need.

Instead of your average list, try planning out your meals, including:

  • What snacks you want
  • Any beverages you may need, such as juices, coffee, or dairy products
  • How much of the same food you want to eat throughout the week (for example, I have the same breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a week, but others prefer variety)
  • How many people you’re cooking for

Keeping these factors in mind can help you find the pertinent products you need, which is where your budgeting can begin. Check your local grocery store’s website for product prices ahead of time so you know exactly what you’re going in for. If you can’t, look at all of your options once you’re physically there to find the lowest prices. Try sticking to generic brands when at all possible. And, most importantly, don’t impulse buy!

Buy in bulk.

For foods that last longer, such as rice, pasta, ground coffee, oats, spices you frequently use, and so forth, buying them in larger batches can save you tons of money. You can also buy meat or frozen vegetables and fruit in bulk too, and they’ll last a really long time in the freezer. This technique can be especially useful for larger families, but if you live alone or with fewer people, find a friend to share your bulk goods (and thus, the cost) with.

Cut out the meat.

Let’s face it – meat is expensive compared to other foods. It’s so easy to get your protein from other goods, such as vegetables, legumes, and eggs. Opt for going meatless a few times a week to save on costs. Eating less meat and more vegetables will also help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol, among other health benefits!

Look at many places.

Just because you shop at the nearest grocery store does not mean you have to buy everything there. I actually travel out of town every few weeks to buy many products that are cheaper at another store than the ones where I live, or I make lists for two or three stores around town.

It sounds like a pain, I know, but it can save you a lot of money and expand your horizon on the food options available to you.

Your freezer is your friend.

A great tip for when you do feel lazy and want a quick meal is to make some individual meals in advance and freeze them. Save an extra portion of the larger meals you make and immediately put them in the freezer for later. This way, you don’t have to worry about leftovers going bad in the fridge, and when you’re craving that yummy soup on a night you’re feeling sick, you can grab some from the freezer and have an effortless dinner!

So are leftovers.

Got leftover veggie scraps or some produce that’s about to go bad? Instead of throwing them out and replacing them with new ones from the store, make something out of them!

For example:

  • Tortillas that are going to expire? Make homemade tortilla chips, or have a taco night.
  • Wilted lettuce? Try a yummy grilled Caesar salad, in which you grill the lettuce before adding yummy dressing and Parmesan cheese.
  • Potatoes starting to get eyes? Peel them off and make a hearty veggie potato soup to last you through the week.
  • Fruit or avocados going bad? Save them for smoothies or homemade ice cream.

These are ways you can save money, all with your food! Try these tips out today to keep more in your belly and pocket.

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