According to the USDA, the average family of four spends $816.60 per month on food. That’s a lot of money! If you’re looking to save some cash, one place you can start is by cutting down on your food costs. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Fighting Rising Food Costs with Smarter Choices
- Make a list—and stick to it.
Before you go grocery shopping, take some time to plan out your meals for the week. Once you have a list of what you need, stick to it when you’re at the store. It’s easy to get tempted by all of the delicious (and often unhealthy) snacks that are calling your name from the shelves, but if you can resist those temptations and stick to your list, you’ll save time and money.
- Shop the sales—and don’t be afraid to stock up.
If there’s an item that you know your family will use and it’s on sale, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk or stock up on a few extra items. Not only will this help you save money in the long run, but it will also help you avoid last-minute trips to the store (which can be both time-consuming and expensive).
- Meal prep—it’s not just for athletes!
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Simply taking an hour or two on Sunday afternoon to cook a few meals that can be easily reheated during the week can save you both money and time during the weekdays. And, if cooking isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of meal delivery services that can do the work for you—for a price, of course. But even opting for one of these services just once a week can still help you save money (and time) in the long run.
- Get everyone involved in the kitchen.
One way to make mealtime less stressful (and more fun) is to involve your whole family in the cooking process. Assign each person a task—whether it’s chopping vegetables, setting the table, or washing dishes—to help make mealtime run smoothly and efficiently. And when everyone pitches in, there’s more time for quality family time… which is priceless!
- Scale back on eating out.
Eating out is expensive—plain and simple. And while it’s okay to enjoy a casual meal at a restaurant every now and then, try scaling back on how often you do so. You may be surprised at how much money you can save simply by cooking at home more often than eating out.
- Use leftovers wisely—or get creative with them!
Leftovers are great because they provide an easy (and usually inexpensive) meal option during busy weeks. But if eating the same dish two nights a row isn’t your thing, get creative with your leftovers! There are tons of recipes out there that call for leftover ingredients—you just have to get creative and think outside of the box (or Tupperware).
- Invest in a slow cooker or Instant Pot®.
Slow cookers and Instant Pots® are amazing because they allow you to cook large meals with minimal effort… which means more time for things like relaxation or spending time with loved ones instead of being stuck in the kitchen all day long! Plus, these appliances are relatively inexpensive (especially compared to other kitchen gadgets), so they won’t break the bank either way.
- Cut down on food waste.
According to National Geographic, Americans throw away about one pound of food per person daily. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it also wastes the money! So, next time you clean your fridge, make an effort not to throw away any perfectly good food. Instead, find new ways to incorporate those ingredients into other dishes or meals. For example, if you have some wilted lettuce, add it to soup instead of throwing it away. Or, if you have some overripe bananas, use them in banana bread instead of tossing them in the trash.
Following these eight tips, you can easily cut down on your monthly food costs without sacrificing taste or quality! And who knows? You may even find that cooking at home is more enjoyable than eating out anyway…