Stretch Your Food Budget to the Max
Nowadays, it’s getting more and more difficult to stretch the monthly budget to cover expenses. Food |prices have gone up especially high so it’s much more important than ever to stretch your food budget as much as possible. This can be challenging for seniors because they are cooking smaller amounts and therefore are not able to buy food in money-saving bulk quantities. There are ways to make your money go farther and we’ve collected some of the best ideas right here.
This is a great way to prepare healthy, cost effective meals while cutting down on the need to cook every night. The goal is to get organized and spend an afternoon cooking several different meals and then divide them into smaller portions to put in the freezer. We recommend you prepare several different recipes in the same session so that you can rotate the meals you bring out of the freezer to avoid getting bored. If you want to make your meals even more cost effective, team up with a friend or neighbor and prepare freezer meals together. This will lower the costs, allow you to share in the work of preparation, and have a good time together as well.
There are some initial costs to start this program, but they are fairly reasonable. You will need to obtain enough containers (freezer appropriate, of course) to hold what you prepare, as well as supplies for labeling each container with its contents and date of preparation. More and more companies are offering inexpensive containers and labeling supplies such as this so you should be able to get what you need for a reasonable amount of money. And again, if you team up with a friend or neighbor to get these items you can save even more money by buying in larger quantities.
The most important thing to remember about freezer cooking is to choose recipes that freeze and re-heat well and only prepare the number of meals that you can eat in a reasonable amount of time. In most cases you should plan to use up your freezer meals within four weeks or so. Beyond that amount of time you may end up with food that is freezer burned and not very pleasant to eat.
Buy local and buy seasonal
In most cases you can save money by finding places to buy locally produced foods. These foods are generally less expensive because they do not have the added cost of processing and transportation added in. You can’t get everything you need from a local producer, of course, but it’s worth trying to go this route as much as possible.
Another way to save money is to focus on buying those local foods that are in season. You may love strawberries, for instance, and you can get them at the grocery store pretty much year round; however, if they are out of season and have to be brought in from another growing area then you will pay a great deal more money for them.
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are easy and convenient, but they are also more expensive than buying your own ingredients and preparing them yourself. Because they are processed, packaged, and shipped to your local grocery store their cost is higher because it must cover the expense of each of these steps.
There is another benefit to choosing non-processed foods, and that is improved health. These kinds of foods are generally high in fat, salt, and added sugars, making them extremely unhealthy in most cases. You will be doing your body and your budget a huge favor by looking past the processed foods and focusing instead on the non-processed choices in the grocery store.
And here’s a tip to help you with your shopping – try to buy most of your food from the perimeter walls of the store rather than from the aisles in the middle of the store. The middle aisles generally contain more processed foods while the perimeter walls generally contain more of the non-processed foods.
Making the most of your food dollars is not always an easy thing, especially if you are on a fixed income that makes it hard to adapt to rapidly rising prices. By doing some planning ahead, coordinating with others, and careful selection of foods you can stretch your food budget as far as possible.