10 Ways To Save Money On Food In The New Year

There is never a bad time to save money on food, but during the holiday season it can become even more useful to have a little extra spending money for gifts and other such things. But how do you save money without chasing down the bargain deals and using coupons everywhere? There are some very simple ways for you to save money each month on your essential items, and it doesn’t have to just be around the holidays. In order to start cutting down on your monthly food budget, here are 10 tips for you to try today.

1. Use coupons and discount programs.

Shopping with coupons provided either in-store or through services like Amazon and Coupons.com is a great way to save money every time you go to the grocery store. Consider downloading these applications to your phone so that you have quick and easy access to the latest deals every time you shop.

2. Enroll in customer rewards.

Even grocery stores have customer rewards programs these days. Stop by the customer service desk to enroll in your grocer’s rewards program and start earning free food each time you visit.

3. Stick to a grocery list.

Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of everything that you need for the week. Going aimlessly increases the likeliness of making impulse purchases on items that you do not actually need. Having a list to follow can help you keep your spending in check and improve your skills at planning out meals for the month or week.

4. Cook your meals at home.

Included on your grocery list should be the necessary ingredients for you to make a few home cooked meals throughout the week or month. For example, you can purchase a couple pounds of chuck roast and some potatoes, carrots, and broth and make a tasty pot roast, grab a rotisserie chicken and some potatoes to mash with milk and butter, or get a pound or two of beef chuck to make a meatloaf. Doing this will help you save drastically on weeknight meals that can be made just as easily at home as they can be made for carry out.

5. Eat leftovers.

Home-cooked meals make for excellent leftovers, providing they are not left in the refrigerator for an extended period of time. When you make an evening meal, save the leftovers for the next night, or have some for lunch the next day. Wendy’s may only cost you a few bucks, but that can add up quickly on a day-to-day basis.

6. Pay attention to price tags.

Items like beef and vegetables are often sold on a rate-per-pound basis. That being the case, be sure to read the price tags on your items carefully to avoid paying more than what you see labeled in big numbers.

7. Shop around.

Don’t rely on one store for all of your needs, no matter how convenient it may seem. Do yourself a favor and visit several grocers in your area to check on differences in price and various promotions individual stores may hold, then shop where you can get the most for your money.

8. Check out ethnic stores.

Ethnic stores that specialize in specific herbs, spices, and cultural dishes from around the world tend to offer great prices on these specialty items. What’s more is you can be more assured of the quality of the items you are buying. For example, Wal-Mart might have guacamole, but I would feel much more at ease buying it from a Mexican grocer than I would a corporate conglomerate like Wal-Mart.

9. Avoid name brands.

Like I said, I’m all about supporting the small businesses over going to Wal-Mart, but if you do find yourself at a big-name grocer like Cub, Kroger, or Jewel-Osco, shop the store-brand items before you jump for the name brands. Most of the time they are exactly the same item, except that one has the big-name behind it, so it is pretty safe to go for the smaller brand except perhaps on items like poultry, meat, and produce.

10. Pack a sandwich for lunch at work.

If you don’t have any leftovers to take to work, you can still avoid making the trip to Wendy’s or Subway by bringing a sandwich for yourself. Packing a simple sandwich for lunch not only shaves down on your lunch budget, but can also help you get going in the morning and ensure you get a more nutritious meal than you will find at a fast food restaurant. Just be sure to bring a bag of chips (baked is healthier) or a can of fruit to go with it.