5 Ways to Trim Your Grocery Budget

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Trimming your grocery budget can be one of the biggest and best things you do all week to save yourself money. Take a look at what you're working with for the month and work out your food budget.


If you are looking at the numbers and see you've been overspending at the grocery store, there are some ways to cut back.

Plan a menu. This is an absolute necessity if you want to save. You can be as strict as you want about it and it doesn't have to be boring. If you don't feel like eating soup on Tuesday no one is going to call the police. Just eat pasta instead and have soup on Thursday. It's not that tough. The point is to say "Hey, this is what I'm eating this week. I'll go buy the things to make these dinners so I don't order Thai again."

Make a list (and stick to it). Once you figure out what you're making, make a list of the foods you'll need to cook them. And then...and this is the tricky part...only buy those things.

Buy spices from the bulk bin. Spices go bad quickly and if you need to buy it for one recipe, chances are that it doesn't warrant purchasing a whole jar. Check out the bulk bins in co-ops, health food stores, and ethnic markets. Take your measuring spoons with you and get just what you need. You will not be the first person to buy 7 cents of cumin.

Have a plan for leftovers. Count on taking them for lunch or reworking them into a side dish later in the week. Say you have a few servings of pasta left over - you can add the noodles into your eggs in the morning and have a hearty frittata.

Cook from scratch. Only when you can and if you're able; and don't start by grinding your own wheat to make bread flour, either. Making pancakes from scratch takes five minutes and uses pantry staples. As a bonus you know exactly what you're eating. Kale chips, croutons, smoothies, mashed potatoes, broths and stocks, vanilla, and beer. If it exists in the world you are able to make it at home.

Eat seasonally. Springtime means asparagus and berries and pea shoots and mango and a bunch of other things. Produce in season is plentiful and stores will have it on sale. Try something cheap you may have not had before. If you don't like it, hey, now you know. But if you do? Score. Buying what's cheap and in season is a fun and healthy way to cook.

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