Get more for your money when you are on a budget and learn to save time. There are many ways to save whether it be by using coupons, shopping sales, planning before you shop, and preparing a meal that will stretch your food for your family. These are a few of the ideas I use with my family and friends.
- Planning ahead
– Plan out meals for the week
– Meals such as casseroles or roasts, or stews. These meals will stretch your money.
– Double up your recipes to save time later in the week by freezing leftovers.
– Making a list and checking what you have in your pantry or cupboards prior to shopping will save you time and money (remember don’t shop when you are hungry and for unnecessary items not on your list unless you find a deal)
2. Utilize your newspapers, coupons and online blogs to find your best deals on things that are most expensive.
-Meats and seafood are hard to find coupons for, but you can price comparison shop for those items and price match at stores such as Wal-Mart.
-Make sure you sign up for store loyalty cards or rewards cards to save even more money.
-Some stores such as Kroger will start sending you coupons on the items you buy the most of when you use their shoppers card.
-keeping a notebook with a price list will also help you compare item prices on the things you buy most. If you shop more than one store keeping prices listed will help ensure you get the best price.
-Keeping up with coupon polices will also help you save money. Some stores will double or triple coupons all the time or on certain days. Also if you are a senior citizen check with your customer service desk and ask about senior discounts. You can save anywhere from 5% to 20% on your total bill during certain days. (This may vary depending on what state you live in)
3. Check your unit prices
-Your store shelves will have a price listed for each item you find, this is where you will also have the unit price listed most of the time as well.
-Learning to read your labels will help you find the lowest unit price per ounce.
-Compare different brands and sizes to find the most economical price that fits your budget
4. Buying fruits in season
-doing research to find out how to freeze or preserve fresh fruits will help you save money when buying your fruit in season vs. out of season.
5. Re-using your leftovers with a twist
-Use your leftovers such as chicken in a salad or stir-fry.
-Ask friends or neighbors for recipes that they may use leftovers in.
-When I cook meat for spaghetti I always make double of what I will use and freeze for later when I make tacos or chili. This saves me so much time later in the week when I can pull out meat that is already cooked.
6. Buying some items in Bulk
– I will say that sometimes it is best to buy in bulk on items you use a lot of or find a good sale on.
-Remember to utilize rain checks as often as you can especially on meat products that you find on sale as they tend to sell out fast. This will help you extend the sale to get the same deal at a later date when the price is usually higher.
7. Take time to prepare your own foods and say no to most convenience foods
-Frozen foods such as frozen dinners, instant rice or pre-cut veggies/fruits will cost so much more because you are paying for someone else to do the work for you.
-you can cut your own veggies or fruit to make trays for a party at a fraction of the cost of the pre-made ones you buy.
-Making dishes ahead of time like pot pies, meatloaf, or just cooking chicken breast and freezing them for later will save so much time and money.
-Protein is important in anyone’s diet but when the cost of meat keeps increasing we have to find ways to save for the whole family without sacrificing what our bodies need.
-Less expensive proteins such as beans are usually pretty cheap and veggies such as potatoes or carrots pack a punch on vitamins that your family needs
9. Save money when eating out
-Most restaurants will offer “kids eat free” on certain days.
-Also try going out for lunch instead of dinner as lunch prices seem to be less expensive.
-You also will spend more money when you buy a beverage such as a soda. Drink water and save money!
-Look for coupons that offer buy one get one free entrees or buy one get one half off entrée deals.
-Ask for the managers special you will almost always save money.
10. Busy on the go families can save money instead of doing take out foods.
-As I said before you can make meals ahead of time and have them frozen to save time and money. Take this a step further by having your family help out on the weekends to create meals ahead of time.
-Make individual servings to freeze for your kids so when they come and go at least they can have a healthy meal.
-Some Ideas could be using a muffin tin to create small portions of meat loaf or even small pot pies. Lasagne is a great dish to freeze single serving sizes also.
These are just some of the ways you can save money and stretch your budget. My hope is that you will take at least one of these ideas into consideration and help your family stretch their own budget. Good luck!