Cool Ideas

Feed Your Family on a Budget

If you were to take a close look at your household budget, you would likely find more than a few areas where you could save some money—especially when it comes to expenses like those premium cable channels or your morning latte. And while grocery shopping is most certainly a necessity, there are still plenty of ways to serve up delicious and nutritious meals without breaking the bank. Read on to see how you can feed for you family for less (and maybe even get some oh so necessary latte money back in the budget)!

  • Plan your meals: When it comes to your grocery budget, a little planning goes a long way. Make yourself a food calendar, and plan out each meal for a given cycle of grocery shopping. This will keep you from overbuying and going over budget. Try to plan meals that use ingredients you already have in your house, so you’ll have less to buy at the grocery store. This will also help keep unused groceries from going to waste, as it’s estimated that as much as 20 percent of the food you buy gets thrown away.
  • Shop the sales: Pick up your grocery store’s weekly circular to see what is on special that week, and plan your shopping list around that. Just make sure you are buying a sale item that you really need, and not just because it’s on sale (which is a common way to go over budget). If you find a great deal on nonperishable items such as paper towels, or food items with an extended shelf life, then stock up. Having reserves on hand will help you cut costs on future shopping trips.
  • Forget brand names: Focus on the lowest price, not which package has the most appealing label. The truth is, generic brands are nearly identical to their big budget competitors, and the higher cost is likely covering hefty packaging and advertising costs, and not necessarily higher quality ingredients.
  • Use coupons with caution: Coupons are any savvy shopper’s best friend—as long as you use them wisely. Like sales, coupons are created to entice you to buy, and a great deal is only great if you needed the product in the first place. Otherwise, you are only spending unnecessary dollars to save pennies.
  • Shop outside the box: Who says you have to do your grocery shopping in a grocery store? These days, there are plenty of options when it comes to stocking up on food and household supplies, and you just need to do a little homework to find the best deals. For example, famers market might provide fresher and cheaper produce, and you can often score big at the drugstore when they have specials on items like bottled water, granola bars, medicines, and more.
  • Groceries on a budget
  • Get creative: You can prepare a delicious and healthy meal without put the family budget to its limit. For example, meat is typically the most expensive part of your meal. So instead of preparing a steak and potato entrée, try making a soup instead. You’ll use less of expensive ingredients like meat, and you can pack in plenty of nutrients with veggies. Or, replace meat altogether once a week and try using beans as your main protein.