First Person: How We Cut Our Food Costs by 30%

Yahoo Contributor Network

Over the last year, we've manage to cut nearly 30 percent off our regular food costs. Amazingly enough, such a drastic reduction in costs didn't entail a lot of drastic action. In fact, it was some quite simple adjustments to our regular meal plan that help us put a significant dent in our weekly shopping receipts. Besides finding a great discount grocery by the way of Aldi, here are some of the food consumption tips that have made it easier for us to keep our food costs down.

Use Smaller Dishware

I've found that the bigger the glass, plate, bowl, or pan, the more we tend to eat. I realized that this was especially prevalent with things like drinks. The bigger the glass, the more we pour, and therefore, the more we tend to consume whether we really want it or not since once we've poured it, we want to consume it to avoid waste.

With smaller glasses, plates or bowls, we're only allowed so much. We could be full after a smaller serving, and if so, then great, we've saved on food costs. If we need a little more then fine we can pour it, but we might still consume less, even with a second smaller serving than if we'd used much larger dishware.

Start with Fillers

Since our family isn't on any sort of weight loss diet plan, we can sometimes start with or add fillers to make our meals go further and us feel fuller on less food. We've found that items like breads, pastas, potatoes, rice, and beans are particularly good fillers that are reasonably priced and help stretch our food dollar.

End with Extras if Needed

Sometimes our efforts at maximizing culinary satisfaction paired with financial fortitude falls a little short though and our tummies are left rumbling at the end of the day. That's fine though since we can always add a cheap snack to make up for our meal shortcomings. A little popcorn, a few pretzels, or just a couple crackers often works to satisfy our hunger pangs while still saving money and not overeating in the process.

Mix and Match

A lot of times we get stuck with leftovers -- a little of this, a little of that, and a little of the other. Times like this call for a little improvisation. In such instances, we might take two of the leftovers, use them as sides or as fillers for something else more substantial like a good piece of beef or a couple chicken breasts. This allows us to stretch our main dish with leftovers, feeding our family of four on just a couple dollars.

Getting Creative with Sauces

We've found that getting creative with various sauces has helped us reduce our consumption or make further use of fillers. By giving things a spicy kick or tangy zest, we're able to add some zest that slows us down in our eating and imbues other foods with its flavor, sharing its taste with bland, low-cost culinary filler items such as rice, potatoes, and pastas.

Sauces or marinades such as teriyaki, barbecue, dressings, and more help us add flavor while consuming less food, saving us money in the process.

Shop Weekly and With a List

We go shopping just once a week and with a list. Our list helps us keep impulse buys to a minimum while at the same time keeping us from forgetting items that could have us making a trip back to the store at which we purchase a few extra items in the process. By conducting our one-and-done shopping trip each week, we're forced to plan a little better and make decisions on what we'd like to eat for the upcoming week before we get there so that we have a more clearly defined meal plan. This also helps us keep costs due to wasted food down as well.

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The author is not a licensed financial, nutritional or health professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial, health or nutritional advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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