20+ Tips for Frugal Meals! Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half!
Most of us have been there at one time or another. Money is tight, and we still have to make sure everyone is fed. It can tempting to just pick up cheap processed food, and honestly there's no shame in the occasional KD for dinner, but it's actually still more costly than cooking from scratch, not the mention less healthy and wholesome. And yes, cooking from scratch takes a bit more time, BUT, take a deep breath, get the kids involved, use the tried-and-true tips below, and the MP meal planner, and before you know it you'll be enjoying planning and making meals and save money. Let's go!
1. Before You make a meal plan for the week, write down everything that you already have. Then start by putting those things together to make meals.
2.Check the flyers each week. Paying special attention to the front-page specials, because that’s where the lowest prices usually are.
3. Plan your menu around what you see on sale, and if you see a really great price on something that’s shelf stable or that you can freeze, buy extras and store/freeze for future use. Doing this regularly ensures that you always have sale-purchased items in stock at your house.
4. Find out when your supermarket marks their meat down! Mine does it first thing in the morning and that is when I shop and get some pretty mind blowing steals.
5. Buy meat in bulk when it goes on sale and get enough to freeze for a couple months. Then make meals from the pantry and only buy the fresh ingredients.
6. Stop buying drinks. 90% of what we drink is friggin' tap water. It’s free, produces no plastic trash, and is the healthiest thing you can drink. Get on that train.
7. Buy meat in bulk and cut it yourself.
8. Sometimes the fresh ‘catch of the day’ can be cheaper than frozen ones.
9. Have a look at cheaper brands, sometimes you can’t tell the taste difference and sometimes they are nutritionally better than name brands.
10. Almost everything is more expensive in individual packages (chips, yogurt, cereal, drinks, meat, crackers, oatmeal, etc.) so your budget will go much farther if you buy the large container.
11. Don't be afraid to shop at no frills, Walmart or the basic grocery store for toiletries. It's the same toilet paper for Christ sake! Just because it's 8 more dollars at the fancy grocery, doesn't mean that same toilet paper that's cheaper at Walmart.. is less quality.
12. If you need a vegetable that aren't in season, check the frozen vegetables. It will be cheaper and sometimes the frozen veggies even have more nutrients!
13. No matter where you live, a bag of oatmeal is always going to be cheaper than cereal, the quarts of yogurt will always be cheaper than the flavoured individual packs, and the bag of rice is going to be cheaper than the boxes of seasoned rice.
14. When it gets to the end, meaning no money till the next paycheck, sometimes it’s just grilled cheese, cereal, waffles or soup for dinner. And it's okay! You're not a terrible parent, if you ask your children, you're literally the best right now! PANCAKES FOR DINNER?! Fuck yes!!
15. Eat a nice nutritious meal before venturing out into the world of food. Never shop hungry.. you'll buy a bunch of shit your tummy is telling you, "you need."
16. Having stuff like flour, butter, yeast, milk, and eggs to make breads, pancakes, biscuits, tortillas, etc when able, goes a long way to have a base to go on.
17. Homemade spaghetti sauce, is super easy and cheap! Make extra pasta sauce and freeze it. Or use it in soup, on personal pizzas, and to dunk chicken nuggets in.
18. As long as you’re not compromising on nutrition, choose the least expensive option of things. For example: oranges and bananas instead of kiwis, buy a whole ham instead of deli slices, choose a cheap beef cut and slow-roast it, buy pistachios instead of macademia nuts, and buy in-season produce (strawberries are expensive in December!).
19. Slow cookers are a godsend when you’re on a budget! It will save you in hydro, time, and dishes. we're talking 80% less hydro in 6 hours than an oven uses in 1!!!
20. Stop living in the 90's! Scratch the purple ketchup, cookies, canned drinks, chips and other junk food off the shopping list! It's so much cheaper to just make your own fucking cookies. Not only is it cheaper, but it's 10x healthier to make homemade "better for you" treats!
21. Buy a whole chicken! Cook for stock first. 1. Stock immediately becomes base for meal , soup etc. 2. Pull meat from cooked chicken and divide – creates options for more meals, chicken casserole, tacos, chicken salad, etc depending on how many your feeding.
22. Make "Meatless Mondays" a thing and use fillings such as, wholesome lentils, chick peas, beans, pulses for protein. Healthy, cheap (especially if buying bulk, dried) and good for the planet!
23. Use the Modern Parenting Meal Planner, and use recipes - which is key so you know exactly how much of the ingredients to buy. THEN rewrite a list of items you need to make meals out of leftovers! If you make tacos, make sure there is another meal to double up on using the remaining sour cream.
24. Shop at different places to get the best prices, so we shop at a few different stores.
25. Menu planning and online shopping, so you can see exactly how much it costs and adjust as you go. It makes me much less likely to buy things I could do without.
Do you have a great frugal shopping tip? Add it in the comments below!