Tips to Cut Food Costs

Finance, Home, Home & Family
on October 5, 2003

Whether you are eating at home or eating out, you can eat well and still save money. There are many ways to save besides coupons, rebates, and shopping the sales. Here are some other tips for reducing your food costs.

When you eat at home

  • Stretch meat: Add pasta, rice, or beans to casseroles, stews, and soups.
  • Allow time: Cheaper cuts of meat take longer to cook. A crockpot comes in handy.
  • Plan carefully: Tonights beef roast can be used tomorrow for a delicious new meal, such as beef sandwiches or beef vegetable soup.
  • Eat vegetarian: Make hearty no-meat meals at least once a week. Tempt your family with favorites such as corn chowder, bean burritos, or baked potatoes.
  • Shop the sales: Stock your cupboard with non-perishables when they are on sale.
  • Reduce waste: Buy perishable foods in small quantities. Learn how to better store items.
  • Consider store options: Food co-ops, day-old bread stores, salvage stores, warehouse stores, bulk sales, and farm stands.
  • Freeze sale items: Use a deep freeze to store sale items such as meat, bread, and perishables.
  • Buy store brands over name brands: The quality is often comparable, and the price is less.

When you eat out

  • Take advantage of restaurant specials: Early bird specials, kids eat free nights, buy-one-get-one-free coupons, all-you-can-eat buffets.
  • Join a national restaurant program that offers discounts on restaurants in your area. Example:
  • Drink water: Water is a cheaper, healthier choice.
  • Buy wisely: Order the entree and soup or salad at the restaurant. Eat dessert at home.
  • Share often: When restaurant portions are huge, order one meal and two plates. Share side dishes, such as fries.
  • Think outside the meal: Appetizers cost less and are the right portion for a light meal. Tell your waiter to bring the appetizers when others are served their entrees.
  • Order soup: With a few rolls and a hearty bowl of soup, you can satisfy your hunger for much less than the cost of a meal.
  • Lunches cost less: Restaurants usually offer lunch at a lower price than the same meal at dinner.
  • Everything in moderation: Limit the number of times you eat out per week. A balance of eating out and eating at home is healthier, as well as cost effective.