When we manage well our food at home, we can save money and time, reduce food waste, and make healthy decisions. Here, we share some ways to save money on food, based on my experience as a home cooker and professional chef.
1. Buy and eat in-season foods
When there is a high offer of any fruit or vegetable, the prices are lower, so you can take advantage of that. Usually, in the supermarket or grocery store, there are special sections with better deals. Go there first and choose in-season foods. It is important to search online for the seasonal calendar to know which food is seasonal. This way, you save money and eat fresh!
2. Buy local food and shop in more than one store
I discovered that it is cheaper to buy in different places. Depending on the kind of food you will buy you should go to one place or another. I purchase the flour, rice, pasta, oil, cleaning products in big supermarkets; but I go to local and small stores for veggies and fruits. There, we can find fresh food with reasonable prices and special deals. When I bought everything in big supermarkets, I usually spent 15%-20% more.
3. Eat more veggies
Definitely, after I became vegetarian, the expenses on food decreased significantly. If you replace some steaks for legumes or high protein vegetables, you will be saving lots of money, and you will also be saving the planet!
You can start with just one day per week eating vegetarian, then you will notice the difference. About saving the planet by eating more veggies, you can find more info on the post below:
4. Write a shopping list
A shopping list is a helpful tool to control your food expenses because you will buy the food you really eat. Start the list on your mobile or a notebook; just write the items you constantly purchase and keep updating the list until you have all your items there. I buy a significant amount of items that I know I consume a lot saving money that way. For instance, I buy a 5lt bottle of extra virgnin olive oil instead of constantly buying a 1lt bootle with oats, rice milk, salt, etc. When you make a list, also try to think about a health lifestyle.
As an example, this is my list:
5. Do It Yourself
We live so fast, but we can plan and enjoy some time in the kitchen. I listen to good music, drink tea, coffee, or wine, and try to do as much as possible in my kitchen once or twice per week. I stopped buying prepared hummus, pesto, ricotta, breads, kimchi, sauerkraut, protein balls, and more. If I make it myself, I can save 30%-50% on those items and enjoy my own food.
The web is full with recepies that you can pratice, adap and try again. You can even give some homemade dishes to your friends as a present or maybe sell some of them too. Also, you will be taking care of your gut, which enjoys fermented food.
6. Keep and use leftovers
As much as possible, use all the food that you can buy and do not waste it. I never throw away the broccoli stalks for example; instead I make soups or sauces with them. You can identify the items you throw away, like peels and cut-offs, then research online for recipes, and is is granted you will find something to do with them.
7. Drink tap water
This was very hard for me because I used to buy tons of drinks, but two years ago, I started avoiding this section. I still get wine, but I drink tap water, tea, coffee, wine, and homemade beer. This way your bill will be smaller and your health will improve. Believe me!
8. Cook once, eat twice or more
For instance, if I cook some pasta, I cook all the content, and serve just what I am going to eat during that particular meal. I chill and put the rest of the plain pasta into a clean container with some olive oil in the fridge. So, I have pasta ready to mix with pesto or something else later on that week. Also, when I make other food possible to keep in the freezer, I storage and it is ready to go for sepcial ocassions. This happens with bread or tiramisu.
9. Grow your own vegetables and fruits
Finally, if you have space at home, keep the seeds of your veggies and your fruits to grow some. Or you can buy the seeds, and enjoy growing them in the season. I have been saving some money with capsicums, and I will start with mushrooms.
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