Thursday, March 26, 2009

25 ways to stretch your food budget

For all of us who are feeling the crunch, here are some helpful tips courtesy of Eat Better America.

25 Tips to Stretch Your Food Budget
When you have to think twice about every penny you spend, these tips can help you make smart choices.
When it comes to buying food, a good way to stretch your budget is to eat at restaurants land fast-food venues less often. And while that might mean a few more trips to the grocery store, it also means more time at home enjoying the company of family and friends. Preparing a meal with your kids, sharing laughs and catching up porides rewars beyond saving money!

1. Cook at home instead of going to restaurants or fast-food venues.
2. Make a realistic food budget.
3. Clip coupons from newspapers or download them from Web sites.
4. Plan your meal around in-store specials, especially meats.
5. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
6. Save money - and time - by shopping and cooking with a friend.
7. Stretch meat further by making casseroles and stir-fries.
8. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.

9. Choose products from the top or bottom shelves in the grocery store. Items at eye level are usually more expensive.
10. Be aware of sell-by dates. Perishable foods are often reduced in price as that date nears.
11. Limit purchases of prepared and packaged foods. They're convenient but more expensive than buying ingredients to make it yourself.
12. Shop the "reduced section" of the store and stock up on products you use regularly.
13. Join grocery-saving club stores that entitle you to memembers-only savings.
14. Buy items like meat in bulk or family-size packages and divide and freeze for later.
15. Purchase fresh ingredients that are in season.
16. Shop the end-caps of the aisles for great deals.
17. Don't shop when you're hungry. Everything looks good then.
18. Allow enough time for shopping so you can compare prices.

19. Purchase inexpensive cuts of meat and use them in your slow cooker.
20. Instead of buying pre-made ground beef patties, make your own.
21. Purchase less expesive ground beef. Brown and drain in a colander, then rinse with hot water to remove excess fat.
22. Buy a bag of frozen meatballs and use the meatballs in several recipes.
23. Roast your own whole chicken instead of buying a rotisserie chicken; make a casserole, pot pie or soup with leftovers.
24. Use bone-in chicken thighs instead of boneless skinless chicken breasts.
25. Stock up on canned tuna, salmon and chicken when they're on sale. They make tasty casseroles and sandwiches.

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