Food expenses certainly take a big slice from anyone’s budget. Whether you have a family or you live alone, your food costs can put a big dent in your monthly income. Money is hard to come by these days, yet you sometimes come to a point when you need to make an important purchase or there are forced expenditures that you cannot avoid. As you try to balance everything, you are forced to cut down on your monthly expenditures, in which case you are compelled to live on a very limited budget. If you are in this predicament you might worry how you can buy food on a shoestring budget and not sacrifice your nutritional needs. The truth is - this is not impossible. Just take note of the following tips:
- List down what to serve during meals. Come up with a menu plan that consists of a day to day three-meal guide. By doing this, you will be better prepared when you go to the groceries because you already know what to buy. And if you have a definite shopping plan, you will not go astray to other shelves where you might be tempted to make unnecessary purchases.
- Fresh foods make a big difference. Did you know that processed foods are more expensive than fresh food products? This is because processed foods entail processing and packaging costs, which are in the end, charged to the buyers.
- Strictly abide by your budget. Before going to the groceries, you should impose on yourself a certain amount that you will spend for the shopping trip. Of course you have to base this amount on the weekly menu plan that you made. Incidentally, as you make your menu plan, put a tag price on each meal. For instance, mashed potatoes for two persons may cost $1.00 and two slices of chicken legs may be valued at $2.00. Remember not to spend beyond your budget. If it will help, close your eyes when you pass by shelves that contain your favorite chocolate fudge and other expensive snacks that you love.
- Before you decided to live on a shoestring food budget, you may have stocked up on several items in your pantry. Take a look at your freezer and pantry and list down all the food items stored in the shelves and cabinets so you know what you already have and therefore you don’t need to buy. Spices, condiments and other cooking ingredients, if already available, can save you a lot.
- Do your own food preparations. Convenience food products are great and time saving but they cost a lot more. Try to learn how to make your own barbecue mix, sauces and other concoctions. It is even more fun when you know you exerted real effort in preparing a meal rather than serving them straight from the grocery shelves.
- Be an advocate of natural healthy foods. Refraining from buying sodas and junk can mean big savings. It also results to healthier lifestyle.
Living on a low food budget does not necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your health and nutritional requirements. If you plan your meals carefully and do your food shopping wisely, you will soon appreciate the fact that you really don’t have to go hungry or be malnourished on a shoestring food budget.