Prepare Your Meals at Home
The best way to save money when it comes to your food budget is to eat at home. When you go out to eat the meal simply costs more, you are paying for someone else to prepare and cook your meal which you can easily do yourself.
Even if you think you are saving money by going to get fast food you still are at a deficit, and on top of that are ingesting a huge amount of unnecessary salts, fats and calories in general. This is not only going to hurt your wallet but it will make you fat and feel horrible as well.
It may not seem like a lot of money when you go out and spend $10 on a meal for example, but when you can prepare that same meal for a fraction of the price, it starts to add up over time. Making your own meals versus going out can mean the difference in a down payment on a car or motorcycle in only a years’ time which is hard to wrap your head around!
Don’t Buy as Much Meat
When it comes to meal preparation, meats by far and away are going to be the most expensive food item in your meal plan. Meats are a great food when it comes to a one stop shop for protein, vitamins, minerals and fats but are rather expensive.
Other alternative to meat are plant based proteins, like soybeans, peas, beans and other legumes. These foods you can either find, fresh, frozen or canned and are sold for pennies on the dollar compared to some meats.
Another benefit beside cost when it comes to choosing plant based protein over animal based are the ones associated with improved health. Plant based proteins do not have high amounts of saturated fats or cholesterols which are found in many meats products like beef, poultry and eggs.
In addition, plant based protein sources have a better shelf live than protein sources meaning we tend to throw a lot of our meat out, wasting even more money.
Whole Turkey or Chicken
If you don’t want to give up meat or just find it difficult to eat enough beans and legumes to meet your protein requirements, whole chicken or turkey are good choices. Buying the entire bird gives you a good variety of both dark and white meat, which both contain a variety of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Also since you are buying the entire bird you are getting a better price per pound, the place where you are purchasing the meat from has to process it less as a result as well, reducing the overall cost.
You usually get more than one meal out of a whole chicken and will definitely get more than one for a turkey, so this saves you money as well. Turkey especially tastes great the next day, and are great make great leftover sandwiches.
Buy Canned Fish
Fish is another great source of protein, and depending on the species of fish and how it is prepared, can be a very cheap and healthy meal option. Look for fattier fish types like tuna, trout and anchovies which contain the heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
Fresh fish and even some frozen varieties can be very expensive when you consider that you should be eating fish at least twice a week, so canned fish is a great option. If possible look for cans that have a BPA free lining, which many companies are beginning to switch to.
Grow Your Own Food if Possible
Grow your own food if you can, it will really help you save money when it comes to the cost of your meals. Ideally you should be able to grow anything you eat, so if you live in a rural area and are able to start your own 1/2 acre garden for example, it would be well worth it.
Growing everything you need to eat is simply not a realistic solution for most people especially if you have limited space, which is the case for anyone living in a city. If this is you obviously you can’t have your own cattle range, but you can still grow your own vegetables.
If you don’t know what to grow, the best place to start is the items that cost the most. Red bell peppers are a good start for example, due to their relatively high cost, high nutritional value, and how easy they are to grow.