Regardless of your reason, sometimes you just need to cut back on how much it costs to feed your family and save money on food. Whether you’ve decided to quit work and stay at home with the kids or whether you’ve lost your job, either way saving money on food is often a place many families can save and see a big change in their bank account.
The first step you have to take once you decide to cut your food costs is to look at where you’re spending the money. Are you eating dinner out? How about lunch? Do your kids take their lunch to school or do you make one for them? Saving money on food is very often a lifestyle change. If you answered, “yes” to these questions, there’s your first adjustment:
Eat dinner at home
Take your lunch to work
Fix a school lunch for your kids instead of paying for them to eat at school
Learn to plan your meals at home and shop cheap. To do this, follow these tips:
*Set a limit on spending and stay under it with few exceptions. If you allow yourself a certain amount, you spend that amount. Examine your priorities. Do your kids really need those expensive juice boxes or can you make up a batch of juice or drink mix and have it in the refrigerator? Do your kids need those expensive breakfast cereals or can you find a better and cheaper breakfast substitute?
*Compare prices at nearby stores to see which store is least expensive overall. If it helps, keep a price book with the cost of items that you buy regularly. Buy them from the cheapest store.
*Buy most of your groceries from the cheapest grocery store. Forget about looks and atmosphere. Shop where you can get the most food for your money.
*Supplement by shopping at other stores whose weekly specials are outstanding. Grocery stores try to get you to shop by having a few “loss leaders” each week. These are items that they actually take a loss on but will attract more shoppers. Find these deals. Go into the store. Buy that one item. Leave the store. Period.
*Make a detailed shopping list and follow it to the letter. Only substitute when you find an unexpected bargain. Plan what you are going to feed your family for the entire week. Do this on a weekend night while you’re watching TV. From this menu make a detailed list and buy only the items on that list.
Re-train the way you think about feeding your family. When you have the extra money, it’s easy to fall into the trap of eating out all the time. If you really want to save money on food, learn new habits and follow these tips.