Quick Tips for Cooking on a Budget

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Did you know that people who go to the grocery store without a list are likely to spend up to 40% more than if they had a list in hand? Creating a game plan during the quiet weekend or at the beginning of the week will reduce your stress when it comes to meal planning and prevent the need for a mid-week grocery run.

Here's 5 smart tips to maximize your meal plan savings:

  • Create a plan before you purchase groceries. Make a note of what meals you want to make for the week. Then, sift through the ingredients of the recipes to add ingredients you need to your grocery list. This way, you can make your grocery trips more efficient and reduce unnecessary purchases. Try using Foodsmart’s Meal Planner function under the “Recipes” tab to organize your meals for the week.
  • Use ingredients that are perishable first. The average American household throws out over $2,000 worth of food every year. To prevent food waste and save money, keep in mind which foods are most perishable (usually its leafy greens). When creating your meal plan and grocery list, check which foods in your fridge and pantry are about to go bad and then choose recipes that revolve around those ingredients.
  • Leftovers are your best friend. Eating out frequently can become expensive. If you are going out to eat, ask for a box to bring any leftovers home. This includes complimentary bread or rice, which you can incorporate into your next meal. If you’re cooking dinner, double the recipe so you can save leftovers for the next day, or make extra to put in the freezer for another time.
  • Make your own drinks at home. Buying drinks from Starbucks or at the grocery store can add up. If you regularly drink coffee or tea, consider investing in a coffee maker or tea kettle. If you usually buy sodas or juices, consider making your own flavored water at home by adding fruit to your water.
  • Buy generic brands. When you’re at the grocery store, choose items that are the store’s brand. They are often similar in quality and a fraction of the cost of well-recognized brands. Signing up for a free membership with your local grocery store can also help you save on their deals.

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