by- Mary Stephenson
Any family that is trying to save money knows that a primary ongoing household expense is the family food budget.
I have learned there are 4 main steps you can take to reduce your spending on food up to 50%.
1. Good Preparation. This is by far the most important step in reducing food costs. Most Grocery stores offer specials each week on food items and you can save a ton if you buy the items on sale and incorporate those into your meal plans.
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You can learn all about those deals here at MomsCharlotte.com, where Tara makes it easy for you by compiling the store specials and tells you when there's a coupon you can use to further reduce your costs.
Plan your shopping list and menus according to the weekly specials and always clip coupons--it is FREE money! Plan meals based on the sale items and eat well while you are saving money!
2. Remain flexible. Everyone likes to eat out periodically and that can be done without breaking the budget. Purchase and use discount books like Charlotte Citipass and Charlotte Entertainment Book - many offer Buy One Get One Free Meal Deals at restaurants!
I recently came across this great site for fabulous discounts at restaurants and other stores: Charlotte Half Off. Also, In this economy, more restaurants are mailing discount coupons to consumers, so keep an eye out for those.
3. Keep It Simple. There's no need to make yourself crazy by trying to create fancy elaborate meals with exotic expensive ingredients. Buy the specials of the week and you can create some fabulous dishes!
We have found preparing meals ahead as a family on Sunday afternoons is a great way to spend family time & also to get the meals ready so there is less stress during the week.
We also love to use the slow cooker during the week for meals such as soups, chilis and casseroles! When you walk in at dinnertime, the food is ready!
Fix It and Forget It is one of my favorite Slow Cooker Cookbooks for easy to prepare & tasty recipes.
4. Double up! When preparing a meal, make a double batch and freeze the second portion! That way you only do the work once and you have an entire additional meal ready. That way you aren't tempted to grab fast food at the last minute!
Use foods that are seasonal and you will get the most flavorful items at the best prices. You can freeze a second batch for a later date! Buy Summer fruits now such as blueberries, peaches and strawberries which can be use to prepared items such as breads, muffins or pies and can be frozen for later!
Get lots more money saving ideas on Mary's blog at FrugaltoRich.com