7 Tips to Help Stretch Food Budgets
Video by Michaela Parker
If your income has been affected by the new coronavirus situation, you may be looking at ways to stretch your budget.
Cooking at home can help. Theresa Hand, a family and consumer science agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Hinds County, shares 7 tips to help your food dollars go farther.
Plan your meals: Set aside 30 minutes a week to decide what you will serve for each meal. Get input from the whole family, and then make a shopping list.
Keep it simple: Choose simple recipes with just a few ingredients that use simple cooking techniques.
Take advantage of weekly specials: Plan your meals around what items are on sale.
Skip the snack and beverage aisles: Snacks and beverages can really wreck your food budget. Instead, drink tap water, and buy large containers of crackers, yogurt, cottage cheese, carrots, and other healthy snacks and make your own single-serving size packages using reusable plastic containers.
Buy in bulk: Check the price of bagged produce, including apples, potatoes, and onions. They may be cheaper than buying single items. Make sure you plan your menu to use all that you buy. Purchase large portions of meat – whole chickens, large bags of chicken parts, and family packs. Divide these into smaller meal-sized containers and freeze.
Use unit pricing: Larger packages are not always the least expensive. Unit pricing will help you see what the best value is by giving you the price per unit of an item. You can easily compare prices of different sizes and brands. Check the unit price by dividing the total price by the number of units in the item. Units could be ounces, pounds, liters or some other unit of measurement.
Turn leftovers into planned-overs: Cook larger quantities of one or two entrees or sides and plan to serve the leftovers at a meal later in the week or freeze them.
Bonus tip: Use coupons on items you regularly buy, and shop at stores that will double or triple coupons. This can be a real money-saver, especially if you use coupons for items already on sale.
Our new Extension publication 3430, “A 14-Day Shopping and Meal Plan” includes tips and recipes to help you make and accomplish a two-week meal plan.
Check out the food section of the blog, for more some simple and nutritious recipes.
And if you like our recipes and videos, we’d love for you to share them with your friends! It really helps!
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