Staying on a budget is not the easiest way to save money, particularly when it comes to food. In fact, many people are unable to stick to their budget because they feel that it isn’t enough to really provide them with their needs. One reason why we exceed our budget is because we feel as though we are being deprived of something we deserve. It is our paycheck, after all.

However, for a practical adult, especially if you already have a family, following a budget can be a great way to save money for other important things, like healthcare and education. Here are some ways to help you follow your food budget as closely as possible.

1. Make a meal plan.

Before you go grocery shopping, you need to know exactly what you should buy. In order to make a complete list, it’s best to start with a meal plan. You can do a weekly plan with all the recipes you intend to cook, then list out the ingredients for each one. Make sure the quantity is specified for every item.

2. Buy locally.

Many recipes today call for imported ingredients, since a lot of home cooks have become sophisticated practitioners. However, local ingredients are still the cheapest yet the freshest to buy. Not only are you saving money in the process, but you’re also supporting your local agriculture and economy.

3. Don’t buy in excess.

The reason why the quantity for every ingredient is important is that it helps you control your purchases. If you only need two potatoes, a third one may go to waste once you buy it. Although a small buffer may be beneficial, don’t buy too excessively. Just add a spare in case you mess up something.

4. Save leftovers.

Leftovers may not sound very appetizing, but they are in fact the same dishes you cooked. They just need some reheating. To make sure your leftovers are still good, pack them in the fridge properly, either in an airtight container or plastic wrap. This will guarantee that they are safe to eat and not spoiled the next day.

5. Measure your servings.

How many people are you looking to serve and how much per ingredient do you need to achieve that output? Don’t cook too many servings so that you don’t end up wasting your ingredients.

6. Store food properly.

Food storage is a very critical issue that isn’t dealt with as frequently as it should be. Perishables, especially fruits and vegetables, need to be stored properly to prolong their freshness. If you decide to save some for later, the best place to stash your extra produce is inside the freezer, where they can stay for more than three months.

7. Prepare your food correctly.

Messing up a recipe will result to the complete rejection of the dish. Instead of getting eaten, your family will just look for another place to eat because of your poor preparation. Follow the recipe, cook your food thoroughly, and season it properly so that it will have a satisfying outcome.

8. Don’t cook too many dishes.

Every night doesn’t have to be buffet night. All you need is an entree and a side dish to make a meal complete, but you can always add some appetizer or dessert. Don’t cook too many entrees because no one eats five different versions of pork all in one seating.

9. Save some for later.

If you only need half a pound of chicken for your dinner, save the other half for another dish. Cooking the whole pound may mean having too much leftover which no one will eat anymore. Control your cooking portions and don’t be too extravagant with your ingredients.

10. Learn to reuse.

You don’t need to eat leftovers if you don’t want to. You can reuse the ingredients, instead, and make a new dish out of it! This is particularly applicable for breads, meats that are not cooked with sauce, and whole vegetables.

There are many more ways to save money on food, but it’s a good start to follow these ten simple yet effective tips. In the long run, it’s your whole family who will benefit from the savings without compromising your health and nutrition.

Author Bio:

Cynthia Watson is a wife and a mother who is an advocate of natural living. She is passionate about all things green and crunchy. She loves to write about natural remedies, and yummy recipes. When she is not cooking there is 99% chance she is playing with her girls.

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Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of So Good Blog.

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