One of the most important parts of your family budget is the amount that is allocated for food. Food costs can quickly add up for a family. It doesn’t help that in recent years, food has gotten more expensive, with some products going up as much as 100 percent (twice the normal cost) or even more!
Fortunately, food expenses are also one of the easiest parts of the budget that can be reduced. You can see dramatic savings in this area. The secret is to cook from scratch or from semi-scratch. Now don’t worry. You don’t have to put in a lot of extra time to do this. In fact, in most cases, cooking a great low cost meal actually takes less time than going out for take out.
Here are some general suggestions for preparing family recipes for frugal living:
- Start with healthy, but inexpensive ingredients. Buy in bulk for a larger family or to freeze extra meals for those days when you just don’t want to cook. Two wonderful appliances to help you prepare family recipes without much effort are a crock pot and a freezer.
- The crock pot will allow you to prepare full meals with minimal effort. You can also use less expensive cuts of meat because the slow cooking process makes them moist and tender.
- The freezer will allow you to prepare meals in bulk (as mentioned above), stock up on sales and save your leftovers.
- When there is a sale on an item, stock up, purchasing enough of the item to get you to the next great deal. Then cook from your pantry instead of specifically purchasing ingredients for a meal. This way, you will always be purchasing your groceries at the lowest price. You can also take advantage of coupons for those higher priced food items that you want to have. A great resource is FreeCoupons.com because they offer plenty of coupons that you can print out from your computer.
- For the least expense with the most nutrition, choose frozen vegetables instead of fresh or canned (unless you get a great sale of course) and dried beans or pasta instead of fresh or canned.
Use these tips, and you may be surprised at how low your food bill gets while still giving you plenty of delicious family meals.