Let’s face it, the price of almost everything has gone up in a short amount of time. We can all debate whether politics plays a role in this, but what we undoubtedly know is inflation will always happen as time goes on. 

There are 3 main necessities for every human being needs; food, shelter, and water. Of course we need to be able to pay our bills, but in order to survive, these 3 items are crucial.

What I would like to highlight today is food cost. It’s no surprise that we have seen food prices increase since the beginning of 2022. As a family of 5, I have been particularly mindful of my grocery budget this year. I’ve managed to keep my grocery budget to an average of $130 a week.

Here are my tips on saving on food costs

  1. Follow recipes that include less expensive ingredients

What are the less expensive ingredients? They consist of pasta, beans, rice, lentils and such. You will see a lot of these items used in third world countries because they are staples. They are also filling. Try to incorporate recipes where these ingredients are the bulk of the meal.

  1. Shop your pantry

You know if you look deep into your pantry, you will find food that has been neglected. Don’t let it expire, use it. Find a recipe that incorporates that item. In my pantry, I often find that my grains are not getting the best use, like oatmeal. My kids used to love oatmeal, now they like something else. So time to make oatmeal cookies and oatmeal.

  1. Make your own dessert instead of buying pre-made

Buying pre-made cakes, pies, or cookies can be double or triple the cost compared to making it on your own. I must admit, I don’t really like making dessert from scratch even though I have done so in the past. So I buy $1.00 cake and brownie mixes and just add egg and/or water with oil. These recipes  are so easy to make, kids can do them.

  1. Buy store brand

This point can be very touchy for some people because many can taste the difference between the original brand and the store brand. But I encourage you to give it a try. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain items I have to buy name brand (Hellman’s mayo), but common food items like flour, sugar, beans, and canned products should be store brands.

  1. Buy in bulk

I say this more so for big families and those who have an appetite for certain foods. If you live by yourself or if it’s a two person household, this may not apply to you. But if you see yourself going grocery shopping twice or more a week, then it’s time to buy bulk. You can apply for membership at common stores that sell bulk, but wait for a sale or use Boxed which does not require membership fees for buying bulk.

  1. Cook a vegan or vegetarian dish once a week

Meat and seafood can get expensive. It seems like the price keeps rising when I go to the grocery store. To save on meat costs, I make a vegetarian or vegan meal that is pretty hearty like vegetarian/vegan chili. It’s full of beans, corn and different vegetables. There are many recipes out there, give it a try.

  1. Keep meals simple and rotate them

Growing up, my mom would cook the same meals. She had about 7 staple meals and rotated them each week so we weren’t eating the same things but she didn’t deviate from them unless it was a special occasion. I adopted the same principles. In the past, I would try new recipes almost every week. It got a bit frustrating because I would have to take the time to look for new recipes and made sure I had all the ingredients. Now I have 6 staple meals that I rotate each week. We cook about three times a week and it will consist of a pescatarian, vegetarian, or meat dish.  Since I have a routine, I know what to shop eliminating the guess work.

So those are my tips for you, I hope you find this helpful when meal planning for now and the future. Don’t forget to share your ideas as we are all in this together.

Until next time…