Practical Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

These are my best practical tips to stretch your food budget. I do every one of these to help cut down on food costs. And I hope they'll help you too!

Make a plan


Spend the mental energy making plans upfront. Set a budget, plan your meals, and make shopping lists. These activities will get you in a money-saving mindset and prime you for success!

Make meals that utilize similar ingredients


Choose recipes that use ingredients that overlap. For instance, I often use bell peppers and onions. One day I may cook fajitas, but the next stir-fry might be on the dinner agenda.

Repurpose leftovers


Cook with the intention of having good leftovers, that can be quickly repurposed. What are good leftovers? For me, this includes many types of meat and grains. These can be turned into tacos, sandwiches or "bowls".

Browse weekly ads and look for discounted items


I’m sure most of us already do this. Even if you plan your grocery list with sale items in mind, you might come across discounted items while shopping in-store. Be flexible and take advantage of unexpected deals.

Shop before you shop


Shop your pantry, fridge, and freezer before you go grocery shopping. You might find some forgotten gems or discover items that are nearing expiration. This reduces food waste and prevents duplicate purchases.

Stock up on pantry staples


Dried beans, rice, and pasta are my pantry staples. They are my go-to's because they are inexpensive and have a long shelf life, making them okay to buy in bulk quantities. You might also consider lentils, quinoa, farro, oats, egg noodles, and Ramen noodles.

Consider making your own condiments 


Condiments eat up food budgets quickly and often expire before they get used up. I try to stick to stocking the basics; things like ketchup, mustard, mayo, soy sauce, etc. You can make many condiments from this lineup.

Shop seasonally to get the best bang for your buck


Don’t waste money on produce that’s not in season - the rub is that not only is it more expensive, but it’s also not going to be all that flavorful. If your desired fruit or veggie isn’t in season, opt for it frozen or canned instead.

Practical Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

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Saving money on groceries requires mindfulness and planning upfront. Keep these tips in mind to help you keep to your food budget once you're prepared to shop.