- If something is not on a real sale, don't buy it. Everything's no is FOR sale. But is it a real sale. Know your prices if the things that you use in a regular basis. Set yourself target prices - nothing to do with h the store with the red balls. LOL. I pay two dollars a pound for butter. I want real butter. When mymsupply is low, I star looking for a sale. Grocery outlet has butter on sale for three dollars. It's not a bargain. Buy in quantity when it is a good sale, so you never pay full price. Be aware of how much you can use up before it goes bad. Make an effort to use up things that are nearing their date. If milk is close, maybe it's time to have pudding or potato soup for dinner.
2. Set criteria for ready made food. The less you buy, the better off you are in regards to quality of life and prices. Pasta sauce is cheaper to buy ready made with coupons and sales, Tortillas, in my opinion, are too time consuming to make scratch. I have found them as cheap as a dime a ten pack. Get your basic appliances that make life easy, one at a time if necessary. If you can't afford them, look for estate sales or sometimes thrift stores. Bread bakers can be had for as little as three dollars. A s,ow cooker is a must have for a economy family. If you have the right equipment. You are more likely to scratch cook more things.
3. Portion control. This is especially true with protein. Picking a so called loss leader protein and buying a months worth of that protein on bulk is a real money saver. To clarify, if you eat beef once a week, buy enough for four weeks worth. Most of the time for us, that is 7 percent hamburger. If I can't find it for around three dollars a pound and I can get a hunk of lean meat for that, we grind our own, When I get the meat home, I cook it, de-fat it and portion control packages for the freezer. You can do the same thing with split chicken breasts ( de-bone, cook the bones for stock, and portion control the breasts. I wrap each one separately and put all of them on a marked gallon bag. My target price is a dollar, Last time I had to lay 1.28. It is a lot cheaper than the six dollars a pound for boneless, skinless breasts and I get chicken stick and some cassarole chicken as a bonus, Another meat to consider is a pork loin. My target price for that is 1.69. I paid 1.49 at Costco wholesale this week, I took it home, cut the uneven ends off and made stew meat, cut Pork chops through the middle and made two roasts. That's none of our dinners for 15.00. Sausage at less than two dollars a pound can be cooked, defatted and frozen ready for soups, quiche, omlettes, pizza.
4. Use every available tool you have to lower food costs. Ibotta is an ap that gives you rebates on grocery purchases. - lot is expensive stuff you don't buy or need, but you can also get money back on any brand of bread, milk, eggs, cheese, veggies. It ads up and takes just a few minutes when you are putting away groceries. It is easy enough for a tec wavy ore teen to do it. Coupons can be had for regular food. Coupons,com is a web site where you can print coupons. The Sunday paper is a dollar at the dollar store. Some come in the mail with ads. Take advantage of everything you can to lower bills.
5. Meal plan. If you don't plan, you plan to fail. Without a plan that has room for that Alexander day, you will be tempted for take out to cope . The nasty take out gremilins will derail a food budget quickly. Be flexible, but have a plan. Take into consideration, what you have to use up soon . Making a matrix helps do a meal plan quickly. Some people have a theme based matrix using soup, pizza, Italian, Mexican, etc for inspiration, We use a protein based matrix. 1 fish, 1 beef, 2 vegetarian, and 3 chicken or pork. Most people have about 10 go to meals in their head. Try new things, mix things up. Some people go on a three week rotation and use the same meal plans. Whatever works for you.
I save about five thousand dollars a year. I'm not going to say it doesn't take any effort. But it's a lot less work than what I had to do to make five thousand dollars tax free when I worked.