Eating on a budget

Start a garden. Even a small garden can help out with a food budget and you can get the kids involved in something healthy and constructive. If there is no room for a garden where you live, go to your town council or your church and community groups and suggest communal gardens wherein everyone who wants to take ownership of a plot gets to have one.

Check out circulars and newspapers for what’s on sale. Try to buy your veggies on sale. Develop a taste for cheap vegetables that others may dislike such as peas or broccoli. Most vegetables can at least be made palatable with the right recipes. Do some Google research and make it your mission to find the tastiest recipes for vegetables.

Be an adventurous eater. Couple this with a plan to eat the vegetables that are in season. If you are not a picky eater then you will be more than happy to make do with whatever fruits and vegetables are in season, and abundant and therefore cheap.

Check out the canned vegetable section. Scan the aisle for cheap vegetables that might not have been listed on the circulars. When you find something like corn or string beans at a cut rate price, stock up on them. Canned veggies can keep for a long time so you can buy a whole lot of them. 

If you have room in your freezer, then check out the frozen food aisle and stock on any bargains you find there.

It is wise to shop at stores that allow you to compare the price per ounce or per pound on the different food items you buy so you know when you are getting a good deal.

A good healthy diet does not have a lot of red meat in it so it will help your budget and your health to cut back. Cut back on sugar and starches for the same reason.

Instead of giving the kids expensive, sugary snacks, you should give them apples, raisins or celery. You can put an inexpensive spread on the celery to make it more palatable.

Try to avoid expensive, pre-cooked foods. Make your own soups and stews.  Don’t buy things like chicken stock and beef broth. Make your own chicken stock and beef broth when you are cooking. The edible odds and ends and scraps you may produce when you are cooking can be useful in making soups and stews.

Don’t skip meals. Making yourself hungry can make you splurge in an expensive and unwise fashion. Always keep something like an apple or some carrot sticks at your office desk to munch on when you get hungry.

Never buy expensive cookies. Either make your own from scratch or buy the cheaper, bulk cookies.

Avoid sugary drinks. Anything that has a list of ingredients that starts with fructose or corn syrup is probably not good for you. Try to replace all that junk with water.

Never buy bottled water. Get a filter and some cheap plastic or glass water bottles or a thermos. Use you own filtered water.

Use coupons. There are some people who do most of their grocery shopping with coupons. You should too. Always be on the lookout for circulars and newspapers that feature two-for-one coupons. The truly frugal never buy anything unless it’s on sale or they have a coupon for it. Check out on-line services like Groupon for coupons.

Search for freebies on-line. There are stores and manufacturers that give out free samples of just about everything. Try to stock your shelves with free samples.

If you live near a farming community you certainly want to try to take advantage of the farmer’s market and roadside stands. In addition, some farmers allow gleaners to enter their fields and pick up crops that their automatic machines missed. Ask for permission or look for signs that welcome gleaners.