Stretch Your Food Budget! How To Make Your Meals Go Further

by Allison W. on 2010-12-205

Can you eat well for less money?

When you go to the grocery store to do some major food shopping, how long is it before you find yourself having to go back to do it all again? It’s tough when you can’t seem to make stuff last as long as you would like. But I’ve found some great ways of stretching our groceries so that I can make the next shopping trip go a little bit further into the future. Allow me to share them with you here.

Stretch Your Food Budget! How To Make Your Meals Go Further

Here are some useful food shopping tips to try:

1. Eat less.

One great but rather obvious tip is to simply cut down on your portion sizes. I know, it sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I tried this with a few things and I found that I could still enjoy a nice meal without feeling hungry afterward –- even when I cut the portion size by around a third. The upshot is that I’ve started dropping a bit of excess weight as well!

food budget
Image from Nourished Kitchen

2. Avoid or minimize junk food.

Avoiding snacks has its (obvious) advantages. Firstly, this means you end up spending less on your food budget as junk food and various snacks (and processed foods) tend to be costly; and secondly, there’s the positive effect this has on one’s weight and health.

3. Bulk up your meals.

Have you tried adding extra ingredients to your meals to make them go further? It sounds like a paradox doesn’t it? You’re adding things to your dishes to make sure you go shopping for food less often. And yet it does work.

I’m talking about ideas such as bulking up homemade soup by adding cheap pasta to it. You can make a meal of something that would otherwise be a snack, and since pasta is so cheap to buy, you can add it quite easily without spending much more on your shopping bill.

4. Dress up your leftovers.

If you’ve got a creative eye or a fertile imagination, you can do quite a bit with leftovers. For instance, I tend not to think of cooking for a single meal. Instead, I will think about how I can make the most out of everything I am cooking so I have something for the future as well. A classic example would involve cooking a chicken for a Sunday roast. Even if I know that virtually the whole chicken will be consumed, I will still strip off a few slices so I can make a single chicken pie for myself later in the week. Once I began thinking along these lines, I was constantly coming up with new and interesting ways to make meals go further, pretty much every time.

5. Try not to throw anything away.

There could be a use for everything. My biggest lesson was never to throw anything away if I could possibly help it. For instance, before dishing up a meal for two, I’d see whether I could split the meal into three portions instead. If this was possible (and most of the time it was a possibility), I would designate and freeze a portion for later in the week. Many meals can also be bulked up by serving them with a bread roll. These dishes are usually very cheap, and you can freeze them and subsequently defrost one or two at a time as needed, during the week.

You can try a few of these suggestions to see if you can save money on your next shopping trip. If you can apply all of these tips and think of some more as well, you should be heading to the store a lot less often as a result.

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Funny about Money December 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

Great list of plans! I especially like the “eat less” part…one that I could stand to pay some attention to.

Just discovered another trick: To leftovers, add enough of some sort of starchy ingredient to stretch one meal’s worth of leftovers to two.

Last nite I stuffed some butternut squash with spiced, sauteed ground lamb (and things). Ate about half of it. Figured to use the rest for breakfast today. When I cut up a half a baked potato, browned that in butter, and added the leftover lamb, suddenly I again had twice as much as I could eat!

It’s the Miracle of the Leftovers.

Next meal will be the leftover leftovers served on a bed of deliciously seasoned garden greens.

Tulsa Attorney December 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Never throw anything away. I always make enough for dinner and eat the leftovers for lunch.

I like the “eat less” strategy. I need to implement that one.

Kevin the California real estate loan guy December 21, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Being thrifty in this economy is being smart. A crockpot can make several days of meals and most come with a few recipes. Leftovers can be made into some yummy quiches too.

Ralph December 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

Great post exploring some ways one could save money on their food budget. I think many people will find these tips useful.

ConsumerMiser December 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Two of my favorite topics: food and stretching a budget. I’ve tried the “eat less method”, but it does not work well for me, although I do not over eat. I really love to use leftovers and not waste any food. A friend of mine has a “smorgasbord” night when she pulls out all her leftovers and the family feasts on the variety of food. I try to minimize the junk food, although we do have a few things. We also buy generic items instead of name brand items which helps stretch the budget. And of course I use coupons.

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