Food represents a big fraction of most households’ monthly budgets. When people suddenly find themselves in financial difficulties, the food budget is the first to decrease because they immediately eliminate eating out expenses and start preparing all their meals at home. This, of course, results in considerable savings. But, when you need to start a really frugal living, there is much more you can do to save on food expenses.
Save Money By Smart Grocery Shopping
Saving money on groceries can be a great way to lower your expenses and allocate the money to a better use while at the same time paying more attention to what you eat. So, here are the best tips for saving money on groceries to get you started with a frugal food budget.
First of all, you have think about what combination of ingredients will allow you to have healthy, varied meals on a budget. The best advice here is to choose a few cheap staple foods for most of your satiation and chose a few splurges to add variety, flavor, and nutrition to your menu. Great staple foods are pastas, rice, quinoa, and legumes like beans and lentils, because they are pretty cheap, easy to store and cook, they are filling and they can often be found on discounts. Whenever your budget permits and you come across a great deal on one of these items you should definitely stock up on it. That way you will definitely be saving money on groceries over time. It’s worth noting that most of these foods are really healthy too, especially the quinoa and legumes.
Now let’s focus on the “splurges” and how you can incorporate them in your menus while still saving money on groceries. When it comes to food, herbs, organic vegetables and fruits, good quality meat, and seafood are all considered to be splurges when you look at price to quantity ratios. However, many argue they are well worth the price because of the flavors and health benefits they provide. Herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, mint, chives, oregano and others are a great addition to many meals – for example, a teaspoon of basil can really elevate any plate of pasta. And they have powerful health benefits too. But also they can be really expensive if you buy them from the supermarket.
When it comes to herbs, and even certain fruits and vegetables, the most cost-efficient thing you could do is to grow them yourself. Growing your own herbs, cherry tomatoes, onions, beans and other fruits and vegetables is very cost-efficient because the seeds, containers, and compost all together cost just a few pounds per type of plant. It doesn’t take up a lot of space at all to have a few windowsill containers for herbs and a few larger ones for fruits and vegetables of your choice. A lot of people, both living in houses with backyards and in apartment buildings with no balconies, have already realized the benefits from growing these plants and they are sharing their experience and advice online, so it wouldn’t be hard to learn what you need to know about gardening. And there is no better way to be saving money on groceries than to grow your own organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Regarding fruits and vegetables, a great way to save money on these ingredients is to buy frozen ones. Frozen peas, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and vegetable mixes are very easy to prepare and incorporate into most meals. They will add much-needed variety to a plain pot of rice, quinoa, or pasta. And, even though they are not fresh, they still contain a lot of their nutrients. Similarly, canned fish of any kind can be really healthy and nutritious, like canned tuna in water. Frozen vegetables are much cheaper than fresh ones, and canned fish is long-lasting and easy to store so it is possible (and worth it) to stock up when it’s greatly discounted. Thus, if you really want to be saving money or groceries, you should substitute meat with discounted canned fish and most fresh vegetables and fruits with frozen ones – but you can still use your favorite fresh vegetables and herbs for a really low cost if you grow them in your own garden.