- Trim the sales. Shop what’s in season or on sale—whether it’s produce, poultry, fish or local fare. Build your weekly menu around good deals advertised in grocery circulars—but refrain from buying what you won’t use.
- Can it. Choose canned or frozen veggies over fresh to keep foods bills in check. Stock up when your favorites are on sale—and rotate foods so the first in is the first out. And, there's no waste if you forgot about it!
- Cool refuel. Dilute beverages such as lemonade or fruit juices with sparkling mineral water and a twist of citrus. Better yet, save more calories and cents by drinking tap water.
- Go meatless. Meat can be the most expensive part of a meal. Instead, serve up beans, tofu, and whole grains for a less expensive source of protein. Add in some fruits, veggies or salad and round out the rainbow of nutrients.
- Economize. Buy family packs only if you use that amount. It makes sense to buy big and save, if you have storage space or can share—especially for paper goods or items with long shelf lives.
- Minimize. Limit shopping trips to just once weekly. You’ll cut out impulse purchases, save on time and gas, and take advantage of fresh sale items. Good deal!
- Make cents. Download and clip coupons regularly for items you typically buy. But check prices at the shelf. Sometimes another brand may be less expensive—even without a coupon.
- Do the math. Look at the price per ounce details on store shelves to be sure you’re getting a good deal. Buying in bulk is often cheaper but be sure the numbers support your purchase decisions.
- Mother of invention. Include an “innovation day” in menu planning and create a meal from what you have on hand. Experiment with new combinations—use up what's in the cabinets, the freezer and the fridge.
- Fill’er up. Eat before you shop. Shopping when hungry (or with ravenous tag-a-longs) can distract you—making it difficult to stick to your shopping list. This could cause you to fill the cart with unplanned food purchases. Ouch!
Looking for more easy ways to keep your food budget low? Check these articles for simple ideas to cut cost and calories, too:
Your Menu for Heart-Smart Dining Out