Cooking & Baking,  Life

9 Small ways to save big money on food

If you’ve gone a bit overboard with spending, or had a lot of expenses lately, it may be time to cut back a little. Don’t worry, it is not as hard as it seems and you don’t even need to feel deprived. An area you can make bit cuts is your food budget with these handy tips.

1. Show up late

Go to the (farmers) market when it is about an hour away from closing down. Vendors will be eager to make a deal so they don’t need to pack everything up again and take it back. If you go at the right time, you can pick up steep discounts and even negotiate further.

2. Grow your own herbs

It’s summertime, which means fresh pesto, basil lemonade and caprese salads, but all that fresh basil adds up. Get some seeds and pots, and grow your own herb garden. If cared for well, just one basil plant will provide you with approximately half a cup’s worth of basil per week. Herbs grow well indoors too, so no real garden needed!

3. Quit the expensive coffee habit

Whether espresso or cold brew, start making your own at home. You can get a cheap Bialetti for stove top espresso. Cool it down with water and ice cubes for a cold americano. You can make a more authentic cold brew by mixing ground coffee beans with cool water, and letting it sit overnight. You just need to strain the grounds out at the end of course. Let the coffee soak long enough, the longer the better and 18 hours is said to be the sweet spot. It will save you big money if you get coffee every day at Starbucks otherwise.

4. Don’t waste salad veg

Salad that is too wilted to eat can still do well in a stir fry. Saute them and use them as a base of a healthy veggie bowl. Add some beans, chickpeas, and rice for a lovely meal.

5. Empty the freezer

Frozen produce is cheaper than fresh, but instead of hitting the shops take a look at what you have in your freezer first. Top it up with some fresh options and use up some of those frozen meals you made. It clears some space for new meals too, and you’ll save a bit of money in the mean time. When you get a good sale on essentials, you can also use that new freezer space to stock up again.

6. Empty the pantry

Same as with the freezer, take stock of what’s in the pantry. We are usually better at stocking up than eating up and it is worth eating through some of that stored pasta, soup, and even tofu you have stacked up. Dry goods stay good for ages, but the longer you keep them the less good they taste, so do occassionally do a good clear-out.

7. Rack up the points

Sign up to every loyalty card for every shop you visit regularly. Then use them religiously. It adds up quickly, and you get some money back. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Some stores run promotions just for loyalty card holders as well, and you might be first to receive notice of big sales.

8. Pack your lunch

Cook bigger batches for dinner and take some for lunch the next day. Take care that you pack a lunch you actually want to eat so you are not too tempted to buy lunch and waste the packed lunch instead.

9. Order takeout during your lunch hour

Saving the best for last: consider grabbing a lunch time deal from your favourite restaurant and taking it home to heat up for dinnertime. It is a lot cheaper than ordering the same meal at dinnertime, and chances are you are going to be heating it up anyways regardless of when you order it.

The key to saving some money on food this month is planning ahead and being clever with sales, eating what you have, and making the most of good deals – like lunch time deals for take-out. How do you save money on your grocery bill? Looking forward to seeing your thoughts in the comments!

Photo by Peter Wendt

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