Turbo Tax

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strengthen Your Budget - Food




                                                                                                                                        Source: Masahiro Ihara
Food can be the biggest budget buster around.  However, it can also be a great place to save money if you plan carefully.  Through meal planning, cooking from scratch, gardening and couponing you are able to see significant savings.


Meal Plans


Meal Planning dramatically decreases the impulse to run through the drive-thru for supper.  Meat will be out and ready for supper and you know what you're making.  Supper made at home will taste much better than anything you can get at a drive-thru!


Find what works best for you.  Does it work best to do it once a week, once a month, or somewhere in between?



Cook from Scratch

Convenience costs.  The more you cook from scratch, the lower your grocery bill.  If you don't cook much yet and eat out most of the time, start small.  Start by buying convenience items at the grocery store.  They will cost less than eating out.  Then slowly start experimenting with cooking.  Try making a new meal or at least one new dish from scratch each week.  Once you have a few good recipes under your belt, add another meal from scratch, until the majority of your meals are homemade.


Freezer Cooking

Having meals in the freezer when life gets busy helps curb the appeal of the drive-thru.  Freezer cooking helps you make meals from scratch, but still have convenience right at your finger tips!  Freezer cooking takes out a lot of prep work when you are making your meals each evening.  There are lots of great books and blogs about this very topic.  One of my favs is Life As Mom.  Check it out!  She is even hosting a freezer cooking link up!


Gardening

Next year consider setting aside a small area in your yard for a garden, or just do container gardening.  There is joy in seeing your seeds sprout and become plants that produce food.  Not to mention the savings your own produce brings!


Couponing


This takes some learning and practice, but couponing is an excellent way to save money.  It's the main reason I started this blog.  I was so amazed at how much could be saved with coupons.  Although the focus of my blog has changed, I still coupon quite a bit.  I save tons of money on toiletries, food, and on various other items.  I am hooked!  I love sites like We Use Coupons , Money Saving Mom, My Price Savings, & Bargains to Bounty.  They make couponing much easier.

Eating Out

This can be an astronomical expense.  Ordering water to drink, helps to keep the bill down.  As does sharing a meal.  I also do MyPoints or Reward Port, where you read emails and get points just for clicking on emails.  After so many points I am able to get gift cards for various places.

Post from this Series:

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Frugal Friday.




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