Stretch your grocery budget and make your meals go further with these easy, money-saving tips that will help you get the most out of your meals.
Grocery shopping can take up a significant proportion of a weekly budget, so I’m always looking for ways to cut down my grocery spending while staying healthy.
Planning your meals out in advance is one of the best ways to save money at the grocery store – you’re less likely to overspend if you know exactly what you need to buy for the week. But the actual act of meal planning is easier said that done, at least for me.
Too many times we found ourselves getting bored with eating the same things over and over again. $5 meal plan fixed this problem – for just $5 a month they’ll send you a full meal plan with every meal costing around $2 or less to make. It saves us a ton of time and money. If you’re interested, here’s the link to find out more.
I also always use Ibotta to get cash back on my groceries (join here and get a bonus $10). One of the main reasons I love Ibotta is because unlike a lot of other cashback apps, they’re not always brand specific.
For example, they may offer 50 cents for “any brand of pasta” or 75 cents for “chicken breasts”. Ibotta also offers cash back for fruits and vegetables, which is great! Here’s the link to join Ibotta.
Finally, I like to do a quick search for relevant coupons before I grocery shop (although I’m definitely not an extreme couponer.)
I’ve been successful in keeping our average cost of groceries low by meal planning, using Ibotta and clipping coupons but I have also had success in stretching our meals out even further, which saves additional money.
10 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget
1. Lower your portion sizes
Portion size is a huge one, both for reducing your grocery spending and reducing your waistline. The average portion size is way more than what we actually need – plates have just gotten bigger and bigger. Reducing your portion size by even a quarter can result in significant savings.
2. Immediately freeze a portion
Once you’ve plated everyone’s meal, immediately transfer a few portions into containers and pop them in the freezer. I like these glass storage containers because they’re freezer, microwave and oven safe and they have snap-lids to avoid spillage.
Reheat the leftovers for lunch or dinner later on during the week, or my personal favorite is to use leftovers as the filling for pot pies. I recommend this pie-maker – it’s fun and easy to use. I’ve made pot pies with everything from lasagna to sweet potato chili – they’re all delicious and a great way to repurpose your leftovers so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing.
3. Add a starch like potatoes, rice, or pasta
Starches like potatoes, rice, or pasta are a great way to stretch your meals out because they’re cheap and filling. When you’re serving a dish like a casserole, chili, indian food, etc., serve it over a starch.
4. Repurpose your leftovers – pies, toasted sandwiches, pizza
As I mentioned earlier, making pot-pies is my favorite way to repurpose leftovers but there are plenty of other ways you can make leftovers fun. Get creative with toasted sandwiches, pizza, flatbread, etc.
5. Buy your meat online
Meat can take up a large portion of your grocery budget, but it doesn’t have to. Ordering your meat online through Butcherbox will provide you with significant savings.
6. Drink water with your meal
Oftentimes, we mistake hunger for thirst and end up eating more than we really needed to. I always drink water with my meal to help avoid overeating.
7. Replace some of your meat with vegetables
Meat can take up a big chunk of your grocery budget. You can easily cut down on your meat consumption and spending by replacing a portion of your meat with vegetables. For example, if a recipe calls for four chicken breasts, there is a good chance you could just use three, and replace the third with extra vegetables. I also like to grill a bunch of vegetables every Sunday, store them in a glass container in the refrigerator, and add them as a side to my meals throughout the week.
8. Have fruit for dessert
Like serving a simple appetizer before your meal, eating some fresh fruit for dessert can be a good way to cut down on your grocery spending. Make sure you buy fruits that are currently in season as they’ll be the cheapest and taste the best.
9. Use vegetable scraps to make your own broth
Don’t throw out your vegetable scraps! Did you know you can use them to make your own vegetable broth? It’s really easy. Just freeze your leftover vegetable scraps, then once you’ve got about 4 or 5 cups, place them in a stock pot like this one with a couple of bay leaves. Cover the vegetables with water and bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for an hour.
I find these vegetables are the best to use for making your own vegetable broth:
Carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, parsnips, bell peppers, garlic.
And these are the vegetables you should avoid using:
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower.
10. Use dried beans
Dried beans are cheap, easy to use, healthy, filling, and able to be used in a variety of different ways. Just like a starch, they can be used to stretch your meals even further. I like adding beans into chili, casserole, soup, and even salad.