8 ways to help you save while cooking on a budget

Grocery List One of the most important activities from our daily routines is eating since it provides us with the necessary nutrients to perform at our best and reach our daily goals. In average, we eat about 3 meals...

Grocery List
Grocery List

One of the most important activities from our daily routines is eating since it provides us with the necessary nutrients to perform at our best and reach our daily goals. In average, we eat about 3 meals a day, which amounts to 21 meals a week, some people eat twice this amount. How can you balance this vital activity so that you can get the right amount of nutrients without breaking your bank account?

The best way to save is to grocery shop and cook, but before you head up to the grocery store and end up spending money on snickers, chips, and beer, here are 8 ways to help you cooking on a budget:

1. Grocery List: It sounds very basic but you would be surprised how many people don't apply this very basic tool and end up spending way more than what the budget allows. Include the items that you need for the week and schedule a day (usually Sunday) where you will go to the store and buy everything on the list. Make sure that you only buy what's on the list, I know it requires discipline but it will help keep the food budget on track.

2. Don't shop when you are hungry: Never ever go to the grocery store when you are hungry because you will end up buying junk food that you don't need. Eat something at home before you head out so this way you are not shopping on an empty stomach.

3. Avoid paying for convenience: Grocery delivery, processed foods, meal delivery, and any service where you pay extra for convenience. Buy a whole chicken on sale, cut it up, and cook it yourself. Dried beans, peas, lentils, and most legumes are good for you, least expensive, and most versatile foods you can buy. Convenience is for people who can afford it but if you are on a budget, it can turn out to be very expensive.

4. Check grocery ads for specials: You get these in the mail each week and some stores also have online specials that can give you the best bang for your buck. While you plan your grocery shopping for the week, go through your mail and search for any ads specials that you can use to save money.

5. Research internet or cook books for menu ideas: There are tons of recipes online and in cook books that you can use to plan your meals for the week. Even before you write down your grocery list, you should research a few recipes that you would like to cook for the week and include those items into the list.

Research internet or cook books
Research internet or cook books

6. Buy store brand or generic groceries: The only difference between store brand and generic items is the label and the pricing. If you are skeptical about this, try it out and do a small test. Buy one item of each (store brand and generic) and see for yourself what the difference is, you will find out that most of the time, they have the same quality and just different pricing.

7. Skip Dessert: This is a weakness for a lot of people and it's understandable. After all, who doesn't enjoy an occasional sweet treat? The problem with candy, cookies, and dessert in general is that it can add a lot to your grocery bill and to your waistline. The best way to save on desserts is to make them yourself. Buy the ingredients and have fun preparing that delicious treat.

8. Freeze any excess groceries: Thinking about throwing away those leftovers? Think again because that could be a meal for later or next day. Put everything that you don't use in a separate container or zip-lock bag and store them away in the refrigerator for later.

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