We all gotta eat! But if you are feeding a family of seven, you may wish that some folk would skip a meal or two. Since that’s unlikely, here are some tips to save money on food while building wealth to live your dreams.
- Plan – When you plan your grocery trip you are less likely to make impulse buys. You can go to the store focused and prepared to buy only the items on your list. If you buy the same things often you can also make an estimate of how much each item cost. When you plan your trip, you are less likely to purchase that new organic mini cheese popcorn for $6.
- Use a grocery fulfilling service – If you, in fact, are a sucker for unplanned organic mini cheese popcorn purchases you can try using a grocery filling service or pickup program. Many stores like Kroger offer them for just $5. This will help you to get only what’s on your list and nothing more. Not to mention, someone does your grocery shopping for you and brings them to your car. That’s a sure way to stay on budget and save time too.
- Shop on the perimeter – Shop on the perimeter of the store where you will find all of your fresh food and money saving options. The middle of the store is filled with mostly expensive processed foods that can eat a good chunk out of your budget.
- Use what you buy – Use all the food that you buy, there is nothing worse than cleaning out the refrigerator and throwing tons of food away because no one ate it or prepared anything with it. Be sure to be diligent about your food choices, and if there are remnants left over, try adding rice to them or throwing them into a soup for yet another meal.
- Don’t overbuy – A lot of times we waste food because we simply bought too much. Figure out how much your family will actually eat and try shopping on a regular schedule. You can predict how much food to buy if you shop every week versus if you shop sporadically.
- Shop store brands – Many times store brands are made with the exact same ingredients as brand name products.
- Shop salvage – If you are willing to be really thrifty, you can shop at your local grocery salvage for hefty savings. They carry foods that other groceries cannot sell because the packaging may be damaged, because the sell-by date is approaching, or because they are overstocked. Typically these stores freeze meats while they are still fresh, and the overstocked produce can be bought for a fraction.
- Cook simply – Use recipes that you have all the ingredients for. It may be a good idea to use the same rotation of recipes. This will prevent you from having to run to the store to buy a special seasoning or ingredient that you may not use in entirety before it expires.
- Store food properly – Get the most shelf life out of your food by making sure you know how to store it. Some foods last longer in the pantry than they do in the refrigerator.
- Grow your own – If you have a green thumb and a little bit of yard, why not try growing some of your own fruits and veggies. This can save you money during harvest times and you will likely have more vegetables than your family can handle.
You can give some away or preserve the rest for later. If you like herbs, you can also grow an indoor herb garden. It will be a lot more cost-effective than purchasing fresh cut ones from the store.
BONUS – Some of you may read this and say “But Aaron, I can do all of this but that doesn’t stop my kids from eating up all the food.” If this is the case for you, try putting snacks in places that your little kids can’t reach. And for your big kids, you can provide the essentials and they can purchase the extra fun snacks with their own money.
As with anything, some practices are good to establish and keep — and some practices are temporary and can be viewed as sacrifices. But if you sacrifice for the time that it takes to realize your dream, ultimately you will be happy in the end.