Food is the hardest part of budgeting because well, you have to eat! Not much you can cut out of a healthy diet and with the cost of food, not much you can do to get the cost down. But I have been learning little tricks here and there to save some money on the food we eat.
For the past several weeks I have been meal planning for a week at a time–breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then I go to the grocery store and buy only what we need that week. This has been the best way I have found yet to keep the cost down. We are now eating for approximately $10 a day. For a family of four I feel pretty good about that.
Some things I am experimenting with to keep away from cheaper junk foods is instead of starchy cookie type snacks I am buying fruit like apples and grapes–it actually comes out to the same cost and I can feel better about what my toddler is snacking on.
Now my 6 year old is a different story because he only eats white starchy things so a cheap box of crackers made it into the cart. Hard part is that I am a grazer so to not buy an abundance of snack foods is challenging for me. But since I am weaning my daughter and need to start watching weight anyway, I’ll eat some fruit with her and stick to regular meals.
Another thing I am taking into consideration is always buying generic and watching the sales. I wanted to make stuffed shell pasta this week (it was on the menu) but when I went to go buy the large shell noodles, they were $2.79 whereas lasagna was on sale for $1.39. So I changed my plans, we will have rolled stuffed lasagna noodles instead of stuffed shells. I’m realizing even $1 makes a difference in the end.
Now I challenge myself to lower the costs even more in the next few weeks… I’ll keep you updated on how that goes.