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Planning for Inexpensive Meals

During times when the economy is unstable and even the most mundane items seem to make a huge dent in your budget, it’s essential to find new and innovative ways to save money. Even those who never thought twice about making a weekly trip to the grocery store for the family’s food are now looking at ways to save money at the supermarket, where prices seem to keep climbing.  Merely heading to the store and grabbing a host of sale items might seem like a good idea, but it takes a lot more planning than that to stick to a food budget that won’t break the bank. Follow these steps towards creating budget-friendly meals that are kind to your wallet.

Shop the Circulars – If you’re like most consumers these days, you’re no doubt bombarded with weekly circulars from a number of different food stores. Many of us just throw them away or quickly check out the one from our favorite store, but to really learn how to save money on food, it might be necessary to extend your shopping parameters by heading to more than one supermarket. Take time to peruse each circular, identifying sale items you commonly use or would be willing to try. Besides highlighting them on the circular, write them on a list that you can use to create menus and shop.

Plan specific meals – Take a look at the items you’ve indicated on the circulars you viewed and decide how you can use those items in the meals you make for the week. Make a chart that includes a space for each meal’s details and indicate what you’ll make for that particular meal. This might require cracking open a cookbook or two to find some creative recipes for the items you’ve decided to purchase. Think about the use of leftovers – i.e. if you’re having a beef roast on Tuesday night, use the leftovers for roast beef sandwiches on Wednesday or Thursday.

Always bring a list to the store – It’s never a good idea to shop without a list. First of all, you may forget some essentials but, most importantly, you almost always wind up grabbing things off the shelves that you don’t really need. So, make a list and STICK TO IT.

Stock up on staples – If there are items that you use frequently - like spaghetti, rice, cereals, canned goods, and other things the whole family enjoys - buy them in quantity if you find a great deal. This goes for items, of course, which have a long shelf life and can remain in your pantry for a while.

Consider buying in bulk – If you have enough storage room and live within close proximity of a large discount store that sells in bulk – like Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club – consider doing your weekly shopping there. While you may still need to go to your regular supermarket for a few items, most of these stores carry a wide variety of food, from fresh fruits and vegetables to meat and seafood and everything in between. No room to store them? Find a friend or relative who might be willing to split the items with you.

Search for Coupons – Gone are the days when you need a scissors to clip coupons. While you can still find some paper coupons, many are now on the internet. Ask the customer service rep at your supermarket if they have a service that allows you to download electronic coupons for automatic use whenever you scan your club card for that particular store. Go to that website (there’s often more than one per store), download the coupons, and remember to make a list of the ones you download so that you can remember to use them. Usually, they are good for at least a few months.

ericharoy's picture

by ericharoy

Thu, 2011-12-01 14:15

very good publish, i definitely love this web site, keep on it
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