Most have heard stories from a parent or grandparent about how much cheaper their grocery bill was “back in their day.” And it’s true. Today, inflation is causing a lot of uncertainty as food costs continue to rise. This is why I want to share How To Cut Grocery Costs & 5 Budget-Friendly Recipes
While feeding a family of five can be a challenge, my family tries to incorporate shopping hacks and easy recipes that help us stay within budget and eliminate food waste. With a few simple tricks, like looking for sales and focusing on nutritious foods that fill you up, you can easily feed your family on a budget, too.
SHOP IN BULK:
Skip prepackaged foods and go for bulk items instead.
Prepackaged foods might be more convenient, but they’re usually more expensive and generate more waste.
Take dried beans, for instance, a staple in my family. A bag of beans goes much further than a single can—for the same price.
When you buy in bulk, it makes it easier to meal prep. I’ll cook large quantities of dried beans in a crockpot, then freeze smaller portions of the cooked beans in recycled glass jars.
Look for items on sale that you can stock up on. For example, we loaded up when our local grocery store had a sale on organic bananas. We ate some fresh, then froze the rest to make smoothies, ice cream, and banana bread later.
- LET YOUR FRIDGE GO BARE:
Did you know half of all waste in landfills is food waste?
We tend to forget what we have in our fridge or freezer, letting food go to waste. Instead, try to make meals with what you already have.
Before my family’s budget changed, we threw away foods that were spoiling at the end of each week. If we ran out of something, we simply went to the store and bought more.
I now make meals from what we have at home, using fresh foods, like produce, first.
If you have vegetables that are beginning to turn, consider using them in stir-fries and soups.
- EAT LOCAL & IN SEASON:
My family tries to eat locally and in-season as much as possible—both for our budget and the environment. We used to eat whatever we fancied year-round, but now, if it’s not in season, we choose something that is.
An easy way to eat locally and in-season is to sign up for a CSA, or community-supported agriculture, subscription. CSA boxes are packed with local, seasonal, and organic produce at an affordable price.
It’s good to have a few recipes on hand that are filling, nutritious, and dirt-cheap.
Here’s my “five for five”: five favorite meals for a family of five, spending less than $2 per person.
White Beans in Tomato Sauce
Say hello to a healthier version of canned white beans in tomato sauce. This super simple, oh-so-good dish is one of my kid’s favorites, so I like to keep it on hand.
We like to eat them with rice, roasted vegetables, or toast.
- 3 cups white beans, cooked
- 5 large ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 1 tsp fresh red jalapeno pepper, minced
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp agave nectar or a sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion and garlic in a bit of broth in a pot on medium heat. Add tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic powder, tomato paste, broth, agave, beans, salt, and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Serve warm with pasta or roasted potatoes.
Broccoli Stem Soup
Soup is so comforting and easy to make on a dime, and this soup uses broccoli stems, which most people throw away, but they’re delicious! We usually eat our soups with some home-baked bread or crackers.
- 2 cup broccoli stems, diced
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a pot, bring broccoli, water, salt, and pepper to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until lentils and broccoli are soft. Puree in a blender until creamy. Add more salt or pepper to taste.
This is my kids’ absolute favorite meal. Sometimes we like to mix it up and add rice.
This comfort food is filling and packed with nutrients and fiber.
Another lentil-based dish packed with nutrients, you can easily make this recipe in a crockpot.
For more inspiring ways to reduce cost of food check out Zero Waste Chef: