If you are like me, it is important that you and your family are eating healthy. At the same time, we want to save money on our grocery bills. I have some tips that will combine the best of both worlds! You can eat healthy while saving money. We have become a nation of waste! I have taken notice as to how much food we waste in our home and quite honestly, I am embarrassed.
If you are a college student living on a tight budget, a single mother trying to make ends meet or a family that is tired of wasting and throwing away money, I have come up with some tips that work. I don't know about you but with the ever growing prices at the grocery store I can use all the help I can get.
Eat More Veggies:
Meat can be one of the most expensive items on our grocery list, especially if you serve meat every day (more so if you fix it with every meal). I suggest that you cut out some of the meat. You really don't need to have meat with every meal. Not only will this save you money, it is much healthier for you. We need to eat less meat and more fruits, vegetables and nuts, etc. Just remember that frugal or simple living is all about living a healthier lifestyle.
If you have a garden, you are way ahead of the game! You can grow many vegetables that your family eats on a regular basis. This can save you so much money. Even if you think you don't have the space for a garden, you can have a tomato plant or two in pots on your patio. Tomatoes are so expensive and with the current scare over tainted tomatoes, you will know yours are safe. Or perhaps you have a spot for a little raised garden bed.
Even if you don't have a garden, you can shop for your veggies and fruits smarter. Always buy them when they are in season. This way you will be buying locally from local growers and produce in season is cheaper.
Keep It Fresh:
Frugal food is all about wasting less. Keep in mind that when we throw away food we are throwing away money. We've become accustomed to throwing away food that is slightly stale or doesn't look its freshest. My parents and especially my grandparents didn't waste food. And I'm getting myself into this mindset of 'waste not, want not' mentality.
- Bread – when I find bread on sale, I'll buy an extra loaf or two to freeze.
- Fruit – you can slice up some fruits, like apples, and place them in a little water and lemon juice, put them in the fridge and they will last longer. Speaking of apples, you can store them in a loose bag in the fridge, take a few out and place in your fruit bowl an hour before eating them. Unless you like the taste of a cold apple, eat straight out of the fridge.
- Cheese – wrap cheese tightly and keep in the fridge. If mold does appear it will normally only be the edges, which can be easily sliced off. You can store a block of cheese in the freezer and use it grated in your recipes (it does not need to be thawed). It is cheaper to buy blocks or chunks of cheese and grate it yourself. Another good tip is to buy stronger cheeses (instead of mild cheddar buy sharp cheddar). This way you won't need to add as much cheese, thereby, the cheese will last longer and as an added bonus, you won't be eating as much calories.
- Containers – invest in a few screw top bottles to store your homemade condiments, dressings, etc. in. It is much cheaper to make your own and you know its all fresh ingredients without all the preservatives added.
- Pasta and rice – first off pasta and rice isn't expensive so you can fix a multitude of recipes using them to make great frugal, simple and easy meals. To keep your pasta and rice fresher longer and insect free, store them in glass containers with a lid and add a bay leaf.
- Lettuce – never use a metal knife to cut lettuce…it will turn the lettuce brown. It is best to tear it with your hands.
- Leftovers – get in the habit of not throwing away leftovers. Most leftovers can be used to make another completely different meal or frozen to use later.
Some leftover tips:
- Vegetables – use today's leftover veggies in tomorrow's stews and soups. You can also go through your fridge and take the veggies that are starting to get soft or wimpy (like bendy carrots) and make a soup or stew. And if the cost of veggies is just too high right now buy frozen. Studies have shown that they are just as healthy for you. Buy in bulk and just use what you need for your meals.
- Stale bread – bread pudding or use bread that is a little stale by toasting it and using as croutons for soups and salads.
- Meat and fish – leftover meats and fish can be added to stews, soups, fried rice and used for sandwiches for lunch the next day.
Finally, you can find frugal foods at your grocery if you buy store brands instead of the name brands and look in your stores reduced prices sections. Usually the only reason they are reduced is the packaging has been dented or the sale by date is for that day. Remember you can prepare meals ahead of time, so if you find a great deal on say beef cubes, for example, you can go ahead and make beef stew or soup and it that day and freeze the leftovers.
I hope you find these tips useful and helping you to become a more frugal consumer, less wasteful and healthier eaters. If you have some tips please share them with us. Hope to hear from you!