Feeding Your Family on a Limited Budget
Food has become increasingly more expensive so feeding a family on a limited budget is a challenge. Healthy food, especially, can be almost too expensive to afford. With a little extra work, great recipes, and some flexibility, you can find a way to feed your family plenty of healthy food, perhaps even with money to spare.
Before heading to the grocery store, do some preparation in advance. Have a selection of different recipes and meals that your family enjoys, and make sure you know all of the ingredients needed. Cut out coupons in magazines and newspapers for items your family uses, and check the grocery sale papers before you head out to make sure you know exactly what is on sale.
Time your shopping trip to occur right after you eat, so that you aren’t hungry and more prone to impulse buying. If your children are inclined to pull cookies and sugary items off the shelves, try to shop without them.
When shopping, instead of purchasing items related to your menu and recipes for the week, you can also choose plan your menu around what’s on sale. While fresh fruits and vegetables can often be expensive and rarely have coupons, in-season produce is generally cheaper. Purchase what is on sale, as long as it’s something your family will eat. Local farm stands or farmers’ markets are another way to get reasonably priced fresh produce.
Also take advantage of “buy one, get one free” sales and bulk discounts. Having a good storage system in place will make food less likely to go to waste. When freezing meat products, write the date of purchase on the package so you know when you’ll need to eat it by. Cleaning out your freezer frequently can help you know exactly what food you have available. Soups, pastas, and canned goods are great to purchase in large quantities when they are on sale.
Dried items such as beans can be a great, healthy alternative to meat, and are generally reasonably priced. Beans can be added to salads, rice, and soups to add more protein. Also, consider purchasing canned (with no added salt) or frozen vegetables and fruit, which usually contain the same nutrients as fresh food.
Also, if you have a warehouse club near you, compare prices and consider sharing purchases with a nearby friend or relative. Make sure you have willpower though, or else you’ll come out with a basketful of bulky items you didn’t plan to purchase.