How to save money on REAL food part 1 was a popular post, and I realized I have so much more to share about saving money on groceries, so I have added a part 2.
Hope you enjoy! And please let me know your best money saving tips in the comments!
11. Learn how to cut up chickens, and buy them whole.
I’d say the majority of people buy chicken parts such as the breast. When you purchase chicken this way, you pay the extra cost of having someone cut it up for you, but this is a very easy skill to master, and it saves a ton of money. Bonus, you get to work with a lot of different cuts of chicken, most being juicier than the breast meat, and you also have a carcass to make broth with. Yum!
12.Grow a garden.
Growing a garden can be tricky, but if you keep at it, you can grow a significant amount of produce yourself. I live in a pretty difficult area when it comes to growing, but we have still been able to get quite a bit of produce this year.
We also have neighbors who garden, and we have been able to trade produce with them which has been amazing! This is also awesome as far as self-reliance goes. Bonus: it tastes so much better!
13.Keep a back-up meal handy.
For days when you get super off track, and you find yourself at dinner time with not enough time to prepare the meal you had planned, keep a faster option handy (I have 3 small children who I also homeschool, so this happens to me A LOT). This will prevent the need to get takeout or order in pizza.
TIP: My favorite back-up meals are:
I prepare chicken strips ahead of time and freeze them on a sheet, then put them in a bag. I also cut up veggies and freeze them in a bag. Both can be cooked from the freezer.
- Japanese Fried Rice
I put all the leftover veggies from my fridge or freezer into this dish and any meat I have left over. You can also freeze veggies that would otherwise go bad and use them here.
- Sausage Italian Soup
I have to quickly thaw sausage for this one, but it’s still super fast. Check out the recipe here.
- Red Curry
Again, I always keep ingredients handy for this one including cut up veggies in the freezer, and a red curry sauce is really simple, and can be finished in 5 minutes. I serve it over rice with garbanzo beans which I keep an extra can of.
14.Join local food co-ops.
In this area we have Bountiful Baskets and Zaycon foods. Both allow you to purchase with others in the community to lower the cost. Bountiful baskets delivers every Saturday, but Zaycon foods doesn’t come around as often. Check out their websites for more information.
15. Purchasing frozen produce.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of freshness and then frozen, so they often have more nutrients than those fruits and veggies picked before they are ripe and shipped long distances. Also, they are often cheaper.
While canned fruits and vegetables definitely have a “canned” taste, frozen fruits and vegetables taste much fresher. Obviously not all produce can or should be purchased this way, but it is a good option for many things.
16. Before planning your next week’s meals, clean out your refrigerator.
Plan meals around what you have. This is also a good time to chop up any remaining veggies, freeze on a sheet, and throw in a container for the freezer to use as back up meals. You can do the same with left over fruit to use in smoothies.
17.At least once a week, put a soup or stew on the menu.
Back when America was colonizing, soups and stews were staples because it allowed people to feed their families on very little.
Besides, soups are delicious, and brothy ones help you consume less calories.
18.Make your own bone broths.
Good quality chicken broth and beef broth can be quite pricy. Boullion cubes are loaded with chemicals and don’t produce nearly the taste quality. Making your own is super simple and extremely delicious!
Tip: if you don’t have time to make broth now, freeze your carcass and make it later. You can also freeze prepared broth.
19. Look for coupons.
While fresh, real food options don’t often have the perk of coupons, there are still some to be had. I often shop at Smiths which sends me coupons based on what I buy, so I get coupons for fresh produce, meat, butter, etc.
I check their online coupons to see if there is anything to add. The best time to look for coupons on healthy food is at the beginning of the year when resolution time is upon us.
20. Don’t go over your budget! (Try a month using Cash)
Lastly, but probably most importantly, don’t go over your budget! We really make sure we don’t go over our budget by drawing out our flexible spending money in cash.
When the cash is gone, we are done shopping; end of story. This is when having extra meals on hand and some sale stock up items really comes in handy. It’s also amazing what you can dig out of the freezer when you have a week left and no money to spend!
SPENDING IN CASH
We set a goal to save $1,000 last month using this method (figured out what we HAD to spend money on —fixed— and what we also needed. Budgeting it out, we figured out how much to draw out in cash to save up to our goal for the month. It was amazing how differently we thought about the money going out when it was in cash than when it was on a card!
That’s 20 Tips in 2 posts that will definitely help add some money back into your budget! Got any of your own best practices? Put them in the comments.