5 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

5 Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

So you have finally gotten down with meal planning, but you find yourself not being able to save money on food. This is because you have not learned ways to stretch your food budget while meal planning. Here are the reasons you are not saving money and how to fix them:

  1. All the Ingredients

You’re choosing to make meals with too many ingredients. There are plenty of recipes out there that have recipes with 5 ingredients or less. If you see a dish you find interesting but it has a lot of ingredients that you do not have on hand, do a google search for one that does. There are always alternative ways to make one dish and cutting down the number of ingredients is an easy way to cut down on your food costs. Check out Skinnytaste.com for some 5 ingredient recipe ideas!

2. Too Much Spice

Spices, Stretch your food budget

You’re buying too many new spices. Similar to the last one, there is nothing more annoying than buying a bunch of new spices for one recipe that just sit in your pantry for months/years unused. Try to figure out what your top 8-10 spices are and choose recipes that utilize those spices. Or if there is a recipe with a new spice, check if there are alternatives to those spices before buying the new one. Check out SweatPeaChef.com for a comprehensive spice substitute chart!

3. Simplify the Sides

Your side dishes are too elaborate. Sometimes the simpler the better with sides. You don’t need to make creamed spinach or brussels sprouts au gratin. Roast some veggies and cook some brown rice and call it a day! To make it even easier, make a one pot dish or casserole that doesn’t need sides! 

4. Stretch your proteins

Adding beans or veggies to your protein dish can stretch your proteins further. For example, when I make beef enchiladas, I add in some beans, peppers and onions to my filling. This way I use less meat and make my dish a little healthier. You could also scratch the meat all together for a meal or two a week such as meatless Mondays or Tofu Tuesdays!

5. Shop Your Pantry

food inventory, stretch your food budget

You didn’t shop for your pantry/refrigerator first. This is the first step in my Meal Plan 101 post and it’s for a reason. You’re not fully maximizing the benefit of meal planning if you have not taken inventory on what you already have first. Plan meals around those ingredients. Not only will you save on your bottom line, but you will be doing your part to cut down on food waste.

Now you can be on your way to stretch your food budget. Learn more about how to save money on food by reading 10 Tips to Save Money on Groceries.