Reduce Your Food Cost and Eat Better Than Ever! {Guest Post}


The cost of food for a family can be so expensive! When you see the amount of money you bring in each month and then see how much you have left at the end of the month, do you wonder where the dollars went? It seems to go so fast and often it’s hard to remember what it was even spent on. A large amount of money is being spent on food–not extraordinary, special, memorable meals, but forgettable, overpriced groceries, some of which even get thrown out before being eaten.

We recently took a trip to Italy as a family of six, and we wanted to go to France next. Of course, we wanted to do this without going into debt, so we looked at what we were spending each month. We saw a huge portion of our money was being spent every month on food–ordinary, forgettable food. Adding up the amount we were spending in that category shocked us and motivated us. The good news about food spending is that it’s one of the easiest areas to cut costs!

Family Budgeting

How We Slashed Over $1000 Per Month On Food Cost From Our Family Budget

We are eating better than ever!

Let me explain:

First when preparing a meal, ASK “what do we have; not what are we in the mood to eat?” That simple question saved us remarkably by making do and getting creative with what we already have in the house, rather than frequently running back to the grocery store for a “few more things”.

Second, CALL your local grocery store and ask what time of day that store clearances meat, produce and bakery items. As a mom of four, I don’t have time to be running to multiple grocery stores. I don’t even have much time to coupon. But we still reduced our monthly food budget by over $1,000/month.

Shop around the time the store says they clearance meat, bakery and produce items. I recommend two times per week if possible for the greatest way to save using this method. THEN go home to plan the meal you wish to prepare.

Preparing Your Food

It might seem intimidating at first to know how to prepare food from combinations in your pantry, freezer and the items you’ve purchased on clearance, but it can be done, and it isn’t hard.

Sites like MyFridgeFood and SuperCook and even simply googling the ingredients you have and adding the word “recipe” consistently bring up great results for me.

This way of shopping for food has allowed us to try some ingredients we never would have thought to try or which would ordinarily be too expensive for our budget, but when clearanced, are affordable and even save us money.

Food can be sensational, memorable and can add to traditions especially around the holidays. I love this method of shopping because I can make the meals I most want to prepare for myself and for my family while not overspending.

Pack Food

Don’t forget that saving money on food cost can also be done by packing meals along for work, school and road trips. Save even more with using and repurposing leftovers for those meals. Spending $8/lunch at a fast food restaurant or cafeteria each day of the work or school week adds up fast, and it isn’t on food that is memorable. What helps most when tempted by the convenience of eating out at lunch, remember that saying NO to what you want NOW allows you to say YES to what you want MOST. Don’t hesitate to write down the things you want to spend money on the MOST. I call that list the Dream Spending List. What goes on that list is what you most hope to spend money on, what you find most worth saving for.

Food also can be forgettable and ordinary. If you asked me today, what I ate last Wednesday, I wouldn’t remember. And if you’re shopping for ordinary, weekday meals, no need to overspend! For me, I want to SAVE money so I can SPEND it on unforgettable things like travel as a family and making memories. This reverse meal planning method has saved us so much money on food that international travel has become an option for our family.

That’s what makes, for me, saying NO to what I want NOW worth it.

What would you rather spend money on than overpriced groceries?

Share in the comments how you save money on food cost!

six on a budgetAbout Guest Writer Melanie Anderson

Melanie Anderson is a wife and a stay at home mom of four children living in notoriously expensive (and stunningly beautiful) southern California. I share my experiences and tips for financial health.  Debt free living is possible and can be VIBRANT. (We went from spending $1500/month to feed our family of six to $233/month and are eating tastier food than ever.)  Find more from Melanie at her website SixOnABudget and on Facebook.



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