It seems like everybody is trying to save money these days: Military families and civilian families alike. It’s true that one of the biggest expenses for families is food, but there are countless ways in which to cut down on the amount you spend. It just takes a little bit of creativity and planning.
If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, consider these creative tips:
1. Make some meals meatless – If your family is accustomed to eating meat at every meal, you will be shocked at how much you can save by serving meatless meals a few times a week. Remember: Vegetarian meals don’t have to be bland, boring, or unsubstantial. Vegetable, tofu, bean, and other vegetarian meals are often more flavorful and creative than their meat-based counterparts.
2. Know your cheap food staples – Eggs, tortilla shells, potatoes, beans, lentils, and pasta are some of the cheapest food items out there. Learn some new and creative recipes using these ingredients, like egg and potato breakfast tortillas, loaded baked potatoes, black bean soup, pasta with marinara sauce, oven-baked fries, quiche, etc.
3. Use the grocery store salad bar – Certain food items are cheaper when bought at the grocery store salad bar. The best way to use the salad bar to help cut down on costs is to buy just what you need instead of purchasing an entire package of food. If you’re making cranberry-chocolate chip cookies, for example, you could purchase dried cranberries at the salad bar for less than what you would spend buying a whole package. There are many other deals to be found at the grocery store salad bar.
4. Use what you have – Once a week, have a “use-what-you-have” meal night. Don’t go to the grocery store. Use only what you have on hand. Get the family involved for a fun and creative meal night. You never know what you will end up with!
5. Start rotating meal nights with other military families – Talk to some other military spouses or families in your neighborhood and start a rotating meal night. Once a week, one family will cook for the others, hosting an informal dinner party. The next week, another family hosts, and so on. The meals don’t have to be fussy or expensive. Spaghetti and meatballs, for example, is a meal that both adults and kids will like – and it won’t cost you a lot of money.
Haley Nelson is the creator of Cheap Recipe Blog, a site featuring budget-friendly recipes and cheap cooking tips. After hearing time and time again that cheap eating meant eating frozen dinners and unhealthy fast food, she decided to start blogging to prove that anyone can cook healthy, delicious food that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Check out her blog at http://www.cheaprecipeblog.com and don’t forget to like her Facebook page to stay up-to-date on the latest cheap recipe posts.