Many Americans experience the tight squeeze of tough economic times. In many parts of the nation, unemployment statistics may unexpectedly soar to an all-time high. When this happens, jobs are hard to find. If you are in a situation where you need to cut back on living expenses to stretch your budget, reducing the amount you spend on food is one of the easiest and most immediate ways to save money. Ben Franklin’s sage advice continues to hold true: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
While items like the mortgage or car payment are fixed amounts, the amount spent on food is discretionary. Family food expenditures vary widely from household to household. Some frugal folks can feed a family of 6 on $400 a month, others spend that much for a single person.
If you are not paying attention, the dollars spent on foolish food choices add up. Cutting back on a few areas may not seem like much of a saving; however, when added up the monthly total can be substantial.
To put into perspective the differing amounts that families spend on food each year, here are some statistics from The United States 2010 Census report:
- The average cost of a nutritious weekly diet for a family of 4 was $185.50 per week, equating to$9,646.00 per year.
- Families on a “thrifty” budget reported spending $116.20 per week, equating to$6,042.40 per year.
- Families on a “liberal” budget spent $229.90 or more per week. This adds up to$11,954.80 or more a year.
人口普查局建议，每增加一个家庭成员，就增加10%。从这个角度来看，典型的美国家庭在食品上的支出占其年收入的8% - 11%。
Involve The Whole Family
The first step in controlling and reducing your food expenditures is to create an accurate record of all the money you and your family typically spend on food items each month. Include fast food, snacks, candy, bottled water, dining out, the after work cocktail, and your morning latte. Ask each family member to keep a diary for a week and faithfully record expenditures. The project can be enlightening and motivating.
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这是我的饮食日记吗?到目前为止，它收录了我的便当盒作品。我把它放在我的食品储藏室里，当我没有灵感的时候就用它。我也用它来写我的购物清单或饮食计划&我和女孩们一起浏览它，这样她们就可以指出她们想要吃的食物。>>>Follow me for more tips & tricks -Meisha #myfooddiary #easylunches #foodinspiration #creativemum #easylunches #lunchmum #foodblogger #scrapbook #food #lunchprep #grocerylist #organisedlife
Create A Family Food Budget
Establish a food budget based on a set amount per person, per day. If you prepare a budget of $5 to $10 a person, determine the total amount for the week and stick to it.
If today’s meals cost more than the pre-planned amount, make up the difference by serving leftovers later in the week.
Plan for holiday meals and factor the added cost into your projected budget. Plan a few meatless meals to save for the prime rib and leg of turkey you really want for that future family celebration.
Evaluate Your Daily Diet
During the past two decades, obesity in the United States has risen to unprecedented levels. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 33.8 percent of adults are overweight.
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It's Sunday which meals meal planning, meal prepping, grocery shopping and just getting ready for a successful week. I am so excited about Week 2 meals that I am actually looking forward to meal prepping today! Tropical mango , chicken & avocado salad Hawaiian style salmon Pesto zoodles with chicken Pork & Sweet potato kabobs Shrimp stir fry What meal are you most looking forward to this week?
Obesity and unhealthy diets are two of the biggest contributing factors to the rise of diabetes worldwide. Avoiding or reducing the amount of fat-laden, calorie-dense fast foods in the diet, promotes a healthy weight and pares down the budget.
Encourage your family to make wise choices about what food they are turning into fuel.
Pack Your Lunch
Instead of eating an over-sized hamburger, French fries, and a can of soda, enjoy a meal of fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, and whole grains for half the cost. In the United States, a typical fast food meal costs between $6 and $8.
If you indulge in fast food daily during the workweek, you are spending up to $640 a month, or $7,680 a year, on junk food. Packing a lunch is a good way to avoid food that is high in fat calories and low in nutrients, while saving money at the same time.
Give Up Diet Soda
It appears they were justified in their caution. Once aspartame became common in diet drinks, and everything from pancake syrup to salad dressing, the FDA received more than 10,000 consumer complaints.
Try replacing diet sodas with green tea. You will reap a plethora ofhealth benefitsfor a fraction of the cost of a can of soda.
Can you pronounce, or do you even know about, some of the ingredients you ingest in pre-packaged foods? Are these ingredients something you want to put in your body? Whenever possible, substitute commercially canned food products with fresh or frozen ingredients.
Pay For Groceries With Cash And Shop Local
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Minimize the amount of gas you spend going to the grocery store. It doesn’t make good sense to drive across town to your favorite store when comparable grocery stores are closer to home.
Plan Your Meals
Maintain a grocery list. Review the store ads and plan meals to incorporate sale items. Be flexible in your meal planning. Be willing to make changes to substitute lower cost items you find on sale. Watch for sales and stock up on staples.
Buy Fresh Produce In Season
Succulent strawberries, crisp asparagus, apples, peaches, pears, and plums can be frozen or canned to enhance winter meals. Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables in season. Many growers let you save more money and harvest the produce yourself.
Learn the old-fashioned methods of canning and preserving to create jellies, jams, pickles, and pie fillings. Sweeten or season to suit your family’s taste buds, assured that the food is free of synthetic preservatives and coloring. Even better, there is a lot of pride derived from a pantry or fruit cellar full of colorful jars you canned yourself.
Cost Per Unit And Packaging
At the grocery store, pay attention to the cost per unit of the foods you buy. Cost per unit price is available, on the shelf tag, for the majority of food items. Read the small print and save a bundle. If brand “A” costs 27 cents an ounce and brand “B” cost 19 cents per ounce, you can easily see the savings add up when you select the lower cost per ounce product.
Just because the bag, box, can, tube, bottle, shaker, or jar of brand X is larger than brand Y, doesn’t mean it contains more of the product. Packaging can be misleading; another reason to carefully read the label.
Buy In Bulk
Pasta, beans, rice, barley, and lentils can be used in the preparation of a diverse range of dishes. These items can “stretch” meals and cut down on the amount of meat you purchase. Dry, bulk foods will last for years when stored in sealed, airtight containers.
Bought in bulk, these items cost a fraction of the amount you pay when purchased in smaller, packaged quantities. Flour, cornmeal, oats, sugar, salt, spices, coffee, and nuts have a long shelf life and are much cheaper when purchased in large quantities. Save even more by joining a neighborhood food cooperative or dividing the product and cost with a neighbor or friend.
Not only will buying in bulk help you save money, but a supply of bulk foods are advised to help you and your family cope with a weather emergency. During a snowstorm, or in the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane, food is usually in short supply. Even when food is available in these circumstances, the price is generally high.
Even if you live alone, buy meat in large family packets. The price is much lower than the same meat wrapped in smaller packets. When you return from the market, wrap the meat in individual portions to freeze for future use.
If the coupon is for something you normally purchase, then by all means, take advantage of the savings. Don’t buy a food item just because you have a coupon for it. It will likely languish on your pantry shelf and go to waste.
Grow Your Own Food
A home garden can be a fun family project that saves money on the grocery bill, it is also a learning experience for young and old alike. Raise herbs, tomatoes, and peppers on your patio. Also try planting a few hills of different kinds of squash; it’s fun and easy to grow.
Try Hubbard, butternut, acorn, yellow neck, zucchini, or spaghetti squash. Incorporate the hills into established flowerbeds or a traditional garden plot. Squash stores well in a cool place and will provide you with an abundance of delicious food all winter long.
If you grow more than you need, share with friends or sell for profit at your local farmer’s market.
Make Your Coffee At Home
If you spend $3 to $4 a day on a latte, you will spend as much as $1,460 a year. Think of the cost if you often indulge in two or more per day.
Stop Buying Bottled Water
Bottled water is incredibly convenient, but not a necessity. Medical science encourages everyone to drink 8 or more glasses of water a day. If you buy bottled water, that is a gallon a day. Many bottled waters cost up to $3 a quart, or $12 a gallon. If you constantly purchase bottled water, you may be wasting hundreds of dollars a month.
America is blessed with water.城市供水系统和农村水井提供了安全的饮用水来源。如果你所在地区的水有一种不愉快的矿物质味道，买一个滤水器，停止购买瓶装水。购买一个不锈钢水瓶，方便携带。你将不再花不必要的钱，不再把堆积如山的塑料扔进垃圾填埋场。
Eat At Home
Although it is tempting to grab a meal out when you are in a hurry or too tired to cook, home cooking is typically tastier, fresher, and more nutritious than restaurant prepared food. It certainly costs a lot less. Save eating out for special occasions. When you do eat out, look for happy hours or senior discounts.
Breastfeed Your Baby
Make Your Own Baby Food
As your child grows and is ready for solid foods, the cost of prepared jars of baby food is astronomical. Buy several fresh bananas and mash them for your little one at the same cost of buying one tiny jar of bananas.
The same goes for cereals, meat, and vegetable dishes. When you prepare your child’s food yourself, you can be assured your baby is not consuming added chemicals, fillers, coloring, or preservatives. Before adding salt or spicy seasonings to family fare, set aside a portion for your baby.
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Carrot Apricots & Rice Puree Ingredients: 4 tbsp. rice flour | 1 cup of carrots, diced 1 cup of apricots, pitted and diced | 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 1 cup water Instructions: Step 1: Bring the water to the boil in a small saucepan. Add carrot cubes and cook for 8 minutes. Step 2: Add the apricots, rice and nutmeg, then – stirring often – simmer gently for 5 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Step 3: Puree the mixture in a food processor and serve. This is also delicious with a little ginger instead of nutmeg. Rice is ideal to use as one of the first baby foods. It is rich in vitamins of B complex and protein. It helps in digestive problems and diarrhea, and cultures all around the world have used rice in baby food. In our western culture we often use rice porriage as one of the first cereals baby gets to try.We grow through word of mouth so if you can help spread the word we would be so grateful. Helping mummas feed their kids healthy food is my absolute passion and is why I created Little Mashies squeeze containers.
Blend baby food in a food processor or grinder to achieve the desired consistency. Baby food can be prepared in bulk and frozen for later use when needed. Freeze individual servings in small freezer storage containers or plastic bags.