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The Cheapskate's Guide To Food - How To Eat Like The Rich And Famous And Still Save Money!

Author: Kate Carrilly

The Cheapskate's Guide To Food - How To Eat Like The Rich And Famous And Still Save Money!

Book Series: Cheapskates Guide Series


No matter what your living situation, you want to be able to eat delicious foods all of the time. Unfortunately, doing this on a budget can be a daunting task for some. If you are among those who are inexperienced in saving money on food, take heart. There are many things that you can do to reduce the amount of money you spend on food each week without sacrificing the joy of good eating.

Once you have learned how to properly plan your meals, including the use of appropriate recipes, you will be amazed at what you can do. Things such as buying certain foods in bulk and knowing when to buy organic foods will benefit you greatly. Additionally, if you want to quit wasting money on food, you have to learn to quit throwing food away.

Of course, that is just the start of reducing your food bill. In addition to those things, this e-book will teach you all about proper use of co-ops and how to find nutritious produce that is grown right near where you live. There are also tips and tricks to guide you into how you can get free food or incredible discounts that will allow you to buy your favorite foods for a fraction of what you are paying right now.

If you have a baby or are planning one in the future, feeding him or her can be a real strain on your budget. However, you can feed your infant during the first year for far less money than you think. All it takes is the right knowledge and a bit of dedication.

Whether you are a single person or preparing meals for a large family, you will also want to eat out from time to time. While this can be quite expensive if you do not plan well, you can learn the tools you need to save you money when you find yourself on the go.

Additionally, there are probably many things that you spend money on without even realizing it such as cappuccinos and snacks. Learn how to recognize these needs and plan for them so that you do not end up throwing away your cash on things you do not have to have. Implementing advice about growing some of your own food products and planning ahead will be invaluable in your endeavors to reduce your food budget.

Getting together with others in your area who have the same goals can also help you to save time and money on your meals. If you are interested in prepping for a possible disaster, you also need to be sure you do not waste money in this area. While proper rotation is something generally discussed in the retail food industry, it is something that the average person needs to be aware of as well.

By the time you have finished reading this e-book, you will have learned how to do all of this and much more. This will allow you to eat as though you have a great deal of money even while living on a cheapskate budget.


Okay, so you know that you want to eat well on a budget. One of the things that you have to understand about this is creating a meal plan. There are a few different ways that you can approach this task. This section will explore the most popular ones so that you can select the right one for you and your living situation.

You need to plan out your meals in some type of time group. For some, this means having the same type of schedule each week while others prefer to have a rotation of three or four weeks. The idea is based on not repeating foods too frequently or ending up with ingredients going bad in your refrigerator. However, this does not mean that you have to eat the exact same meals each rotation.

The reason for this is because you can figure out a basic concept that you will base each meal upon rather than having a specific thing for each of the days. If you ate hamburgers every Monday for a year, you may get tired of eating them after a while. However, if you eat a hamburger-based meal each Monday, you have endless possibilities. It is very possible that you would never eat the same meal twice throughout the entire year.

Organizing your meals around the protein is an easy way to make your meal schedule. This means you could end up with something like this:

Monday: Meatless Meal

Tuesday: Chicken Based Dishes

Wednesday: Ground Beef Night

Thursday: Pork Dishes

Friday: Roast or Steak

Saturday: Meatless Meal

Sunday: Leftovers or Potluck

Of course, this is just a suggestion and you can adjust it to your own needs. For instance, if you were a vegetarian, this would leave you starving most days of the week. In that case, you may want to adjust the protein based meal rotation to look more similar to this:

Monday: Soy-based Meal

Tuesday: Traditional Bean Dish

Wednesday: Meat Substitute Night

Thursday: Nutty Delight Night

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Cheesy Favorites

Sunday: Peas or Legumes

You can expand upon these in any way that pleases you and your family. This means adding meal types, increasing the number of days included or anything else that works for you. For example, if you go to your church potluck each week, you may not want to make a big meal for dinner that night and may plan something simpler or even serve leftovers.

If the idea of focusing your meals on just protein does not feel right to you, consider the same concept adjusted to fit a wider range of choices. Here is an example:

Monday: Salads

Tuesday: Soup Dish

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Sandwiches

Friday: Casseroles

Saturday: Exotic Fare from Other Countries

Sunday: Fried Foods

There are so many options when it comes to planning. As you can see, this plan allows you to use virtually any ingredients you want. You could have a chicken salad one week and a pasta salad the next. The idea is to have a general basis for each meal but to allow yourself sufficient flexibility to not become bored. In the case of sandwiches, you could make panini, deli style or even a comfort peanut butter and jelly made with the finest ingredients in your cupboard.

Alternately, you may opt for basing the meals on the grain that you will use or other food types. If you enjoy cuisine from other places, you may even want to deem certain nights dedicated to your favorite ethnic dishes. Having Mexican one night of the week and Chinese another is certainly one way to keep it shaken up while providing you with some guidance for your meals.

Remember that the idea is to have a guide, not strict rules. If someone brings you a freshly caught salmon, cook it up and enjoy rather than fretting about it not being the right day of the week. If you are having a particular craving or acquired a new recipe, make an exception to your plan. Otherwise, you become enslaved to the program and may end up frustrated or discouraged with your efforts.

One of the ways that you can make sure that you always have delicious meals to eat is to find recipes that suit your desires. The next section is dedicated to helping you find the meals you need to save money and still eat well.


So, you have an idea about making a loose plan for your meals but do not know what to actually make for them. This is where having appropriate recipes is vital. Otherwise, you may not know what to budget for or how to even figure out what to eat. You can find recipes in so many places that at times it can even be a bit overwhelming, even for experienced home cooks.

One of the most important things is finding recipes that are serving the proper number of people. If you live alone and make a dish that serves eight people, you are probably going to get extremely tired of it before you can consume it all. Likewise, you do not want a bunch of recipes that serve six when you are serving a family of ten.

However, this does not mean that you are limited only to options that are already in the quantity you desire. You can learn how to convert virtually any recipe to the proper amount of servings. You will need some basic math skills and understanding of how your ingredients work together in order to do this.

While the math skills are beyond the scope of this e-book, the ingredients and cooking times are not. In many cases, doubling a recipe will not require quite as much liquid as the original, at least with baked goods. It may also not be necessary to use the exact recalculated amounts of spices either, particularly in the case of recipes that will simmer for a long period of time.

Cooking recipes on the stove do not need time adjustments but those in the oven will. Larger dishes will take more time than smaller dishes. Also, if it is a particularly dense recipe, it may be necessary to reduce the heat fifty degrees and extend the cooking time for them. This is because it will take longer for the center of the dish to become fully cooked. You certainly do not want whoever is eating from the middle of a casserole to become ill because the meat or eggs were not fully cooked.

You can find recipes in cookbooks from your local library and the Internet without having to invest any of your money. There are cookbooks and sites that cater to every food taste imaginable. Peruse these at your leisure to find those that appeal to you.

Many websites that are dedicated exclusively to recipes and cooking in general will provide automatic conversions based upon the number of servings that you want to create. Using these can be valuable for you with both that recipe and others that you may encounter because you will begin to gain an understanding of how these conversions work for you.

Do not be afraid to try to convert your favorite recipes either. Remember that the idea is to not create odd amounts of leftovers or to have an inadequate amount to serve everyone at the table. Budgeting like a cheapskate does not mean that anyone should leave the table hungry!


Now that you have some ideas for the meals you wish to create, you need to figure out how to get the ingredients into your home at an affordable price. One great way to do this is by buying certain items in bulk. Although it will require a greater initial investment than purchasing smaller portions, in the long run you will experience tremendous savings. However, you need to make certain these are smart purchases.

Some of the best things to buy in bulk are grains and beans. However, you should do this only with the ones that you actually enjoy eating. Consider which of these types of items you use the most and focus on them one at a time. This is, of course, unless you have the funds on hand to buy more than one of them per payday.

Assuming that is not the case, you may want to buy something such as a large size of oatmeal one week and pinto beans the next. If you do this once each week or two, you will eventually amass quite the collection of cooking staples in your cupboard. However, you do need to make certain that you purchase what you can use before it goes bad. This is why grains and beans are ideal.

These types of items can stay good indefinitely when stored properly. While that will be covered in a future section, suffice it to say for now that these are among the easiest to purchase and store when bought in bulk.

Depending upon the size of your family and your storage ability, you may also find that meats and some kinds of produce can also be bought in larger packages and broken down for future use. Because each household is different, you will have to determine for yourself if these are viable options for you.

Bulk can also mean different things to different meal planners. If you are cooking for a large family, a 20-pound bag of rice is far more realistic than if you live alone. For singles or couples, bulk may simply be purchasing the largest portions sold in traditional stores. In the rice example, a five-pound container would be plenty for those who are cooking small meals.

In order for you to save money when you buy in bulk, you will need to know how to calculate how much the item is based upon a particular unit of measure. This will allow you to make sure that you are really saving money and not just buying a large container of an average-priced item.

Let's say a one-pound bag of rice at your local store costs one dollar. The twenty-pound bag should be significantly less than twenty dollars or you are not saving much money. In some cases, it may actually be more. To be a savvy shopper, always have the calculator on your phone ready to figure out what an item costs when broken down.

Most communities across the country have some type of discount warehouse store. Whether it is a big box store that is known everywhere or a smaller chain that caters to local businesses, you should be able to find at least one unless you reside in a particularly rural area.

Investigate all of those that are near your home and make notes of the types of prices offered and the products as well. You may discover that one of them is a great fit for you. Keep in mind that some of these facilities may have rules regarding taking pictures or digital notes while in the store. You do not want to get in trouble for violating these policies and risk being unable to return to the store.

Do not forget to calculate your travel time and expenses when using one of these places to shop. If the store is not near your home, attempt to purchase as much as possible while you are there to make the fuel and time worth it. Driving your car for an hour to save three dollars is simply not a logical thing to do.


One thing that concerns many people today is the use of pesticides and certain growing processes with food. Many are concerned about hormones in meats and the general arguments for and against organic foods. While these are personal choices that you will have to make for yourself, there are some items that are generally recommended as less safe or safer, depending upon the item.

For instance, potatoes and apples are almost always better to purchase organic. Potatoes retain the majority of the pesticides on them even after vigorous washing. Apples often have a light coating that will actually seal in the pesticides, making it impossible to simply wash them away. Cucumbers face the same problem. In fact, avoid purchasing produce that has this waxy film on it at all costs.

Strawberries are covered with so many pesticides that the people working with them generally have to wear protective gear in order to protect themselves from the toxins. Because of this danger, you should purchase them organically or even grow them yourself. Remember that saving money by going with a cheaper product may result in higher medical bills down the line. There have been countless cases of people becoming ill from pesticide exposure in strawberries.

Look for meats and meat products that have not been treated with growth hormones if this concerns you. While there was a time when these items were more expensive than their counterparts, the tide has changed. Today, companies have realized that consumers are worried about these hormones and the effects on the human body when consumed. In answer to this, there are an increasing number of options that are priced the same as those that still contain these hormones.

Purchasing the non-organic version of foods that you will peel is generally considered more okay. Bananas and oranges are good examples of this. In fact, the entire citrus family falls into this category, as do many tropical fruits.

You will have to decide for yourself how important these concerns are to you. However, even many who are very strong in the organic movement will pick and choose from the safe options so that their money is wisely invested.

One thing is for certain, no matter what you decide, you need to quit throwing away your food or you will lose money.


There are commercials and websites lamenting the waste of food in personal homes throughout the country. Environmental concerns aside, this is a cut into your food budget. You do not want to let your hard earned money buy food that you put in the trash.

Planning your meals well is a key part of minimizing your food waste. However, there are other things that you can do to reduce your throwaway foodstuffs.

One of these is maintaining awareness of what is in your refrigerator and freezer. Do not allow your produce or other perishables to get shoved to the back of your refrigerator. Make certain that it is arranged so that these items are easy to see.

You also need to store your foods properly or they will become garbage more quickly. Airtight containers are often a good idea for meats and leftovers that are sitting in your refrigerator but this can be the death of your produce. When using tightly sealed containers for food storage, attempt to fill them close to the top. This will minimize the amount of air inside as well as airborne pathogens.

Stores everywhere today have produce bags that can prolong the life of many fruits and vegetables. These reusable items have already saved people countless dollars, and you can enjoy this benefit too! Make sure that you read the package carefully so that you understand which items work best in them and the proper cleaning procedures. You will be amazed at how long your produce will remain fresh with these simple little innovate tools.

Another thing you can do to reduce how much food you throw away is to compost the scraps that you do not use. Think about all of the times that you cut off portions of your produce and toss it in the garbage. By composting it, you are not only reducing your waste but you are also creating fabulous nutrient rich soil.

You can look at composting bins or worms to decide which style is best for your home area. Each has advantages and disadvantages. However, both make the best use of the money you invested in your produce. You do need to make sure you only use items that are safe for the compost. In addition to produce, items such as old newspapers can generally be added.

However, ads or other paper items that are printed on gloss or semi gloss paper cannot be put into the compost pile. Meats and meat products should be avoided because they will begin to rot in a putrid manner when breaking down. On the other hand, leaves from your yard and many types of household plant trimmings are fine.

Some of these kitchen scraps may not need to be recycled into the compost at all. Small parts of foods that are edible but not aesthetically pleasing or have other issues can often be saved and used later. Take for instance the bottom end of celery stalks or the stems of spinach.

You can keep a storage container in your freezer and add these into it as you go along. Once you have a few cups of them, you can add to water and simmer on low for a long time, stirring and adding water as needed. After an hour or more, you will have a delicious vegetable broth being created for free. Then, you can compost the scraps and use or save the broth.

The more you learn about the parts of your foods and alternate ways to use them, you will be amazed at how much you have wasted over the years. Fear not. You need never do that again. These suggestions will help you to use every part of the foods you buy and save money along the way.


Now, if you are looking for some great ways that you can get produce and meat items at an affordable price, you should definitely look into co-ops and local farmers. Even if you live in a city, there are likely farmers in the nearby rural areas. As for co-ops, these deliver to places all across the country. Knowing how to access these resources can give you some fantastic prices on goods that you need to prepare the foods you love.

Find out if there is a farmer's market that operates near you. You can look in your local paper, online or even by contacting the portion of your local government that approves permits for such operations. Many communities have these during the summer months so that farmers can bring their goods and sell them directly to the public. This eliminates the mark up costs that are associated with retail sales.

When you go to a farmer's market, look at the offerings and compare the prices the various vendors have to offer. Find out if there are any regulations regarding claims of organic growing processes. Otherwise, you may end up paying for something that is not actually true.

Although you can get some good prices this way, you still need to make intelligent purchases. Do not buy more than you can use or properly store before it goes bad. Fortunately, these farmers generally will have the same items the following week so you can keep going back and getting the freshest produce available on the market.

Joining a co-op is a great way to have these fresh items delivered close to you on a regular basis. If you have never been a member of a co-op, you will quickly discover that it is an easy and empowering way to get all kinds of products that are priced so you can easily fit them into your budget.

When you sign up and join one of these groups, you will have the opportunity to select which items you want each delivery date. Depending upon where you live and the co-op you have joined, this may be once a week, once per month or some other schedule that has been deemed appropriate by the current members and delivery system.

Look around on the Internet to find co-ops that are in your area. If you cannot find one through this method, you may need to ask around and talk to people that you know who like to cook and save money. Each co-op will have its own set of rules regarding ordering, payments and pickup. Make certain that you understand these prior to making a commitment.

The reason that the food through these is so affordable is that the group purchases in bulk from the distributors. Just as retailers are able to buy items wholesale due to the increased quantity, so can co-ops. When the foods are delivered, they will have to be split up so that each party can get what was paid for in his or her order.

Of course, if you live in a metro area, these options may not be available to you. Even those who live in mid-sized cities may encounter some difficulties with this. If that is the case for you, despair not. There is still a multitude of ways that you can cut significant costs from your food budget without sacrificing quality.


One way that people often attempt to save money is through shopping at discount stores. However, this is not always a good way to reduce your food bill. Before you use an outlet store or one that sells items for a dollar, you need to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting and how it compares to the prices you can get through other avenues. You may be surprised to discover that these places will actually cost you more in the long run.

The reason for this is because of the lower quality or quantity that may be offered by these retailers. Remember that they are in the business to make money also. This means that they often purchase factory seconds to keep their costs low. While these items are sometimes offered at a reduced rate because of some minor error on the packaging, most often it is because the product was inferior.

Consider purchasing a can of chicken noodle soup that is only half of what you would pay at a traditional store. If it was sold to an outlet store because the noodle content was too low, you are not really saving money. It will likely take two cans in order to have the same amount of noodles that you would in one purchased through a regular retail outlet.

You may buy frozen cheese sticks in a large bag that seems to have a great price. However, if the cheese content is lacking or the sticks are not properly sealed, you may end up with several pieces of baked breading, certainly not what you or others at the table are looking for when eating cheese sticks!

Even if the products are not factory seconds, the box may not contain the same number of items that you would find elsewhere. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to offer different items to different retailers. The packaging may appear virtually identical except for the serving sizes or amount per container.

So, you may be able to buy hot chocolate mix in a ten pack at the local grocery store but the dollar establishment box may only have six or eight in each box. While getting it for a dollar may seem like a good deal, if the one at the retail store is only a few cents over a dollar, you are not saving on the cost per serving.

Because of these concerns, it is not often a good idea to use these discount stores for most of your shopping needs. However, there are a couple of instances where you may still be able to utilize them provided that you make your purchases carefully.

Retail outlet stores that offer produce at a lower rate than your local grocery stores may be a good way for you to get bananas, potatoes and similar items for less. If you are not concerned about whether or not you purchase organic, you can simply peruse their stock for the fresh items that you need.

In some instances, these items are simply a surplus that farmers had and are seeking to get rid of before the items go bad. Other times, the produce may be blemished or misshaped. These items are still perfectly fine to eat, they just do not look as good. If you are planning on cutting it up and cooking it anyway, who cares what it looks like beforehand?

Using dollar stores and discount outlets is something that can help you to shave some money from you food bill, but you must make sure that you are careful about the things that you buy. It is likely that you will discover that other money saving methods are more logical in the end.


One of the best ways that you can save money on your food bill is by getting items for free or at an incredibly reduced savings. There are some great ways that you can do this so that you will spend less money on a regular basis.


These are a great way to save money on items that you are going to buy anyway. This does not mean that you have to engage in some type of extreme collection and usage in order to save money. In fact, doing that requires a large investment of time. Perhaps if you have nothing else to do, collecting circulars and papers all around your town will not bother you. However, if you are like most people, you do not have the time or energy to invest in this.

Coupon use can still be a viable way for you to save money. Go through your local paper each week and clip out the ones that are relevant to you. If your family does not eat mustard, does it really matter if you can get a jar for only ten cents? Of course not! This is a huge mistake that many couponers make that you can easily avoid.

There are also coupon sites that allow you to print out coupons. Before you go this route, check with your local stores to find out if these are honored there. Some retail establishments will not take printed coupons because of the fraud associated with them in some instances. You certainly do not want to waste your time printing them if you cannot use them.

Manufacturer Websites

Plenty of companies offer special discounts, including freebies, if you sign up for some type of rewards or preferred customer program with them. These will come in the mail and allow you a great way to save money without ever leaving your home.

Because these companies are going to send you emails regarding their promotions, you may want to consider setting up a separate email account just for these types of programs. This way, you can sign in and get the information when you need it. If the messages are mixed in with your regular messages, you are likely to end up skipping over them.

Retail Programs

A growing number of grocery chains offer rewards programs for their customers. Generally, you will have a discount card or need to enter your telephone number in order to receive the savings. If you can learn to use these in conjunction with coupons on your favorite items, you can get many things at a significant savings on a regular basis.

Pay attention to the sales rotation at your favorite grocery stores. Virtually all of them have a pattern to when items will go on sale. If you can learn how to anticipate this, you can really save some dough each week.

Take the basic item of milk that most households buy on a regular basis. Most retailers will have milk on sale during a particular week of the month throughout the year. If you know that your store will have great deals on milk the third week of each month, that is when you should buy it. Freeze what you will not use before it goes bad. Remember to only purchase enough to cover what you will need before the next sale on that item occurs.

Additionally, there are lots of chains that also have gas stations or are associated with a chain of gas stations. Each time you shop at the store and use your card, you earn discounts on fuel. By making smart choices when you shop and using fuel discounts, you can increase your savings. Be aware though that these fuel stations sometimes charge more money than their competitors. As with anything else, comparison-shop so that you do not end up paying more while thinking that you are saving cash.


Before moving on to the other ways in which you can reduce your general food bill, this section will cover how to minimize the expenses associated with having a baby. It is common knowledge that formula and baby foods are very expensive. Not only that, the ingredients in these are at times sub-par. This can cause health complications for your child that only furthers the expenses associated with these manufactured foods.

If at all possible, consider breastfeeding your infant or allowing your spouse to do so, depending upon your gender. Not only will this simple step save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on formula, it is also better for your baby. American society is becoming increasingly proactive when it comes to breastfeeding rights, so you should be able to do this without a great deal of complications.

When a woman produces milk for her child, it is specifically created in her body according to the needs of the infant. Not only does it contain antibodies and other elements that cannot be recreated in formulas, a different chemical composition occurs when the child is sick or begins eating solid foods. This catering to the child's needs is something that will never be possible with formula.

There is a great deal of information available regarding the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and child. Reduced rates of ear infections and illnesses are only the beginning. Additionally, you can find out about pumping milk for when the mother is not around or so that other family members can participate in infant feeding as well. The best resource for this information is La Leche League.

Baby foods are expensive and sometimes contain added salt or other unsavory ingredients. On top of this, the food does not reflect well what actual food tastes like. Because of the high costs and low quality, you need to consider making it yourself. You can feed your child all types of delicious foods at a fraction of what you pay for manufactured baby food products.

There are a couple of companies that make small grinders specifically for this purpose. They are easy to use and clean so that you can prepare fresh food each time you child is hungry. Within a few minutes, you can have freshly ground bananas, avocados or anything else that is safe for your child to eat.

You are in charge of the ingredients so you know exactly what you are feeding your baby. Best of all, you do not have to spend a bunch of money on baby foods. Not to mention, you will also reduce your waste because you will not be throwing away endless empty baby food containers. In the case of bananas, you will only spend a few pennies per serving rather than the fifty cents to a dollar that you will pay per jar.

As your child becomes more comfortable with digesting solids, you can begin to leave the foods a little bit chunkier. Make sure though that the pieces are not large enough to pose a choking hazard.

Although feeding your child in this manner is a great way to save on your food budget, there are a few things that you should be aware of for the safety of your youngster. Pay attention to the introduction of potential allergens. Discuss introducing them with your pediatrician. Things like nut products, eggs and grains need to be given to the child one at a time so that any reactions can be monitored and medically dealt with.

Also, spices can cause havoc in the digestive tracts of little ones. Do not add them to your infant’s food until the child is over a year in age. Then, you can begin to introduce them slowly. As always, talk to a medical provider about the best way to feed your infant because he or she knows the personal history and other concerns that are exclusive to your situation and your child.

Doing these things will save you money on your food budget and provide great bonding experiences. Once your baby is older, you can continue to save on feeding him or her through the same means you save money on your own food. This is true even when you are eating out.


One of the ways that people inadvertently spend too much money on their food and beverage consumption is through dining out. While there are certainly times when it is necessary or enjoyable even to eat outside of the home, you need to make certain you use smart choices when you do.

If you stop at your local coffee shop each day, take a quick moment to calculate how much money you spend each week, month and year on these sugary indulgences. While they may be delicious and a part of your routine, looking at these numbers should be a wake up call to you if you are attempting to cut your food budget. Having the occasional cappuccino is fine, but if you do this very often, you are throwing away your cash.

Rather than give up the habit altogether, you may want to consider preparing your favorite coffee based items at home. Though the machines associated with this were once quite expensive, the prices have come down considerably in recent years. Today, you can purchase a grinder and maker for less than a hundred dollars. Even buying specialty coffee beans and using a mid-quality machine will save you money within a year of making the switch.

Not only will you save money by doing this yourself, you will have the luxury of indulging in your favorite beverages without ever having to leave your home. When you have guests, you can provide them with a delicious cup of coffee after dinner, which will make you an even better host.

Though fast food establishments are certainly not high end dining, you may find yourself eating at one from time to time. These places make more money on beverages and fries than sandwiches. Skip them. Better yet, find an alternative meal plan so that you do not feel the need to eat their substandard fare.

Even at better restaurants in your neighborhood, you can save money by ordering water instead of a drink. Split appetizers and desserts to reduce the bill and find out about specials that are offered at certain times of the day.

Alternatively, you may be able to plan so that you only eat out when you want to and not because you are very hungry and do not have another plan in place. Keep healthy and inexpensive snack foods in your car and at the office.

Fresh fruits and items such as homemade granola will not cost you very much money. However, having them on hand will ensure that you are never super hungry. You do not want to blow your food budget because you were not properly prepared.


A fabulous way that you can save money on your food budget is to grow some of it yourself. While you may believe that this will require owning some land for an expansive garden, the fact is that almost everyone has enough space to grow at least some of his or her food items. Not only can you have fresh produce, depending upon the zoning laws where you live, you may be able to have fresh meat or meat products as well.

Assuming that you are living in an apartment or rental home where you cannot dig into the yard to plant, you can grow all types of items in containers. This way, if you need to move at some point, you can take along your garden. If you do have a yard available for planting, you can certainly use it as well.

If you have no experience in growing produce, you should begin small and do plenty of research before you start. Find out what growing zone you live in and the types of items that do well in it. There are nine different zones in this country, based upon elevation and temperature throughout the year. Begin by growing those items that do well indoors and those that are deemed ideal for where you live.

The quickest thing that you can grow in order to boost your confidence in this arena is sprouts. These can be grown in a glass canning-jar and be ready to eat in less than a week. Not only are they delicious and nutritious, you can use them in all types of meals.

From sandwiches to stir fry, sprouts are an excellent ingredient to add to your recipes. They can add an exotic flare and take only pennies to make. Purchasing them in the store will cost far more money than what you will spend to make them at home. However, you do need to make certain that you are careful during the process.

Your local health food store should have special lids available for canning jars that will allow you to rinse your sprouts with ease. While there are some who will say these are not necessary, they are the best way to ensure that you have thoroughly rinsed them. This is necessary because otherwise you risk contaminants growing in the jar.

The water that you use to rinse the sprouts can be used to drink, make soups or even to water your plants. It is highly nutritious and should not be thrown away. You will need to rinse them once or twice each day until you are ready to harvest. Keep a couple of jars going at a staggered rate and you will always have fresh sprouts for your meals.

Herb gardens are incredibly popular and are often grown in kitchen windows. It does not take much space and you will be absolutely amazed at how much better your food tastes. While some will continue to grow year after year, others need to be harvested and properly processed at the end of the growing season. Even your own dried herbs will be far superior throughout the winter months to the ones you purchase at the store.

You can grow a variety of smaller items such as berries and tomatoes in individual planters that sit on your porch or balcony. If you have some brightly lit areas within your home, you may even be able to place them inside. Make sure that you check on the varieties available so that you know when to expect harvest time.

If you like tomatoes, you may want to consider growing more than one variety. This way, you can have some that are early producers and others that will still provide food late in the season.

A quick Internet search on vertical gardening will provide you with plenty of ideas of how you can use a small amount of space to grow lots of food. There are people around the globe who are catching on to this innovative way of growing food even in the middle of a dense urban area.

Though growing your own produce will take an initial investment into the tools and soil needed, each year that you reuse the items will improve your return on the investment. Not to mention, you will have food available even if a disaster of some sort blocks your access to traditional food sources for a few days. While having a prepping kit is a good idea, if you can supplement your emergency food stores with fresh items, your level of health will be higher.

You may be able to have chickens or rabbits where you live that can further save you money on food. Chickens can provide enough eggs for you and your family each day and you can also get meat from them. Some communities will not allow people to have chickens but do not mind rabbits because they are considered pets. You can take advantage of this and have fresh rabbit meat year round.

Even if you are not interested in dealing with the additional troubles that come with raising animals, you should definitely think about growing at least a bit of your own produce. It will improve the quality of your meals and empower you at the same time.

However, there are still a few more tricks in this e-book that will help you to reduce your food bill. So, keep reading to learn what else you can do.


The amount of time you spend on meals is as important as the money you put into them. As the old saying goes, “time is money.” Therefore, reducing the amount of time you spend to create the fabulous meals you and your family enjoy is just as important as the actual cash you spend on food. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can reduce your kitchen time without sacrificing quality or flavor.

One simple way is to make two meals at a time. Have one for dinner that night and freeze the other for future use. This works great with casseroles, soups and many other types of dishes. When you are ready to eat the second meal, you simply need to thaw and reheat.

Another great time saving device in the kitchen is the slow cooker. You can put food into it in the morning and have a delicious meal ready when you get home from work. There are thousands of recipes that utilize slow cookers so you never have to become bored. While you can make soups and stews in them, you are not limited to that alone.

Many recipes exist for cooking meat or side dishes such as macaroni and cheese in a slow cooker. You can prepare part of your meal in it and do the rest when you are ready. For example, you may make a pot of meat cooked in Mexican spices. Then, you can use it in enchiladas, tacos or any other dish that you want. Having the meat precooked will save you time.

In fact, you can prepare enough for multiple meals and then break it down into the amount you would need for each. Freeze them and pull out when needed. You will be amazed at how much time this simple trick will save you over the course of a year.

To save time during the workweek, you may want to spend one of your days off doing a bunch of the prep work so that you have less time needed during the week. You may be able to cook and freeze some of your meats or pre-cut vegetables for each meal and put them each in a sealed plastic bag. Squeeze out all of the excess air so that you reduce potential spoilage.

Another great dish that you can make and freeze portions of for future use is spaghetti sauce. Make enough for lasagna, spaghetti, manicotti or any other Italian dish you enjoy. Freeze it and use as needed. You can use the same concept for any type of sauce that you and your family enjoy.

If you have children who are old enough to help in the kitchen, let them! They can help cut veggies, stir sauces, mash ingredients, or anything else at their skill level. Not only does it help give them vital life skills, it will reduce the amount of time you spend cooking. Additionally, cooking meals together can be a great bonding experience for the entire family.

In addition to these time saving tricks, there are a few other things that you can do to reduce your expenses and time spent in the kitchen.


While sharing meals may sound like some sort of weird suburban soup kitchen, this is actually a growing trend for families across the country. If you have friends or family who live near you and have the same interests, it can be a fantastic way for everyone to eat well every single day.

The basic concept behind this is taking turns cooking. Generally, some type of budget is established per meal. Then, the families who are involved take turns preparing the foods. It is a great way to stay in touch and eat well.

You can plan it so that you only need to cook once or twice each week or you may want to only do the meal exchange a couple of times weekly. Either way, you will benefit from this choice.

Assuming that you decide upon a schedule where you are working with six other families, each of you would be responsible for feeding the others on a particular day of the week. This means that on your day you would need to make enough food for all seven families. While this may seem like a bunch of work, when you consider it is the only day of the week that you would have to cook, that concern quickly dissipates.

If you do not have as many people interested or you want to prepare more than one meal per week for your family, you can make a different schedule that works for you. For instance, you may make Sunday dinner one week for a friend and their family while they take the lead the following week.

The great thing about this is that you can have the chance to experience all kinds of delicious and exciting meals without having to cook them all yourself. However, you will need to make sure that everyone is on the same page beforehand. Additionally, this is far more challenging to implement if allergies or other food restrictions are involved - unless of course the others in the group have similar understandings and concerns.

The amount of money that is spent per meal is something that definitely needs to be discussed and adhered to. Of course, if you are a smart shopper you may find that you do not need to spend as much as if you paid full price for everything. The important thing is that the meals are equivalent in value. It would certainly not be fair if one family made lobster while another served ramen noodles!

Even if you do not want to do full meals, you may find other ways to implement this same concept but in a different way. For example, maybe you make an excellent spaghetti sauce while someone else you know excels at Greek cuisine. You may want to exchange portions of the meals so that everyone can experience the best flavors possible.

You could even extend this concept to the workplace provided you have a trusted coworker with similar tastes in food. Perhaps he could bring lunch on Monday and Wednesday for you both while you do the same on Tuesday and Thursday. This means that you will not have to prepare your lunch two days out of the week. You can sleep in a few extra minutes those mornings or get in a bit of exercise or meditation.

As you consider the various ways that you could work with this idea, you are sure to find some new things that you had not even thought about before. Talk to the people that you know about it but do not force them into a commitment. You only want people involved who are dedicated to the same thing. Otherwise, they may end up dropping out on their night, leaving you and your family high and dry when it comes to eating dinner one night.

Once you find the right people to work with, you will be pleasantly surprised at how simple this is to do and the great meals you can have as a result.


One important aspect of saving money is proper storage of your foods. It is a well-known fact that people in America often waste a great deal of money over the course of a year on food waste. While there may be small things that you have no control over, such as a few bites left on the plate, there are many more that you can and must pay attention to or you may as well toss your cash directly into the garbage can.

First of all, grains and grain products need to be stored in airtight containers. This becomes especially important if you are buying in bulk. Large canning jars are ideal because they will seal out pests and seal in freshness. Though you may think that plastic Baggies will suffice, these are not airtight. Additionally, rodents and other pests will be able to smell the food and may invade your food storage area in an effort to fatten up their own families.

You can do the same thing for beans and peas. If you are doing this, make sure that you put labels on each stating what is in it and the date you put it in your storage. In fact, plenty of dried goods will store indefinitely if you do this.

Purchasing meats in bulk and then breaking them down into meal sized packages is a great way to save the amount of money you spend regularly on these expensive items. However, if you end up with freezer burn, you will rapidly lose out on the savings.

Because of this, it is absolutely essential that you practice proper storage methods that pertain directly to meat. The first thing that you must do is to make sure that there is no air in the container. Even small amounts will harm the food. Fortunately, you can get a vacuum sealer so that you can remove all of the air from storage bags that are designed exclusively for this purpose.

The bags themselves are the other things that are essential to protecting your foods. If you use regular plastic wrap, it will not seal the meats well enough to prevent freezer burn. While there are some thicker bags designed for short-term use in the freezer, it is still better to get a vacuum sealer if you use much meat at all. This investment, like a few of the others mentioned in this e-book, are good long-term ideas for saving money.

If you decide to grow some of your own foods, you should look into canning procedures. You can preserve many of these foods for future use and it does not take a great deal of equipment or knowledge in order to do so. Learn what you can about preserving your foods while they are still growing so that you will be ready come harvest time.

Additionally, you will need to learn and practice rotation, which is covered in the final section.


When you have extra food, either through preparing more than one meal at a time or purchasing in bulk, it is essential that you pay attention to rotating your stock. This is something that stores must do and if you have more food in your home than you eat in a week, you should too. This is the case with canned goods and most other types of food as well.

The easiest way to do this is to always put new foods behind the ones that you already have. Make sure to check the dates and if the labels are too small to clearly read, use a piece of masking tape with the expiration date marked for ease of discovery.

If you are like many people, you may have been preparing a disaster kit in the case of an emergency. This is a fabulous idea and you should be commended if you have already created your own. If you have not yet at least secured a three-day emergency supply kit for everyone in your household, you may want to consider doing so soon.

You will need to have enough food and water for each person to last a minimum of three days. If there are children or elderly people in your care, you may need to have extra provisions to ensure that their needs are met in the event that something happens to the services in your city.

While preparing a kit like this is great, there is one thing that many people forget that can create major problems. That is forgetting to rotate the foods that are in them. Now, if you have filled your bags with meals ready to eat, or MREs, these will stay good for a very long time. However, if you have created the items yourself, you will need to rotate the stock on a regular basis.

The easiest way to do this is to go through the kit once every three months and pull out the oldest items, replacing them with newer equivalents. This is one of the big advantages to making up these packages yourself. You can use items that you like to eat anyway. This way, you need not worry about eating emergency rations unless there is an actual emergency.

Whether you are choosing to indulge in the preparation craze or are simply looking to store some extra food in your money saving efforts, remember that you must keep up with stock rotation. Mark your calendar so that you do not forget to do this essential step. And, for the foods in your regular pantry, simply put the newest products in the back when you bring them home.


Running a household on a budget means making smart choices in every aspect of your life. Creating inexpensive meals that taste fabulous will help you to do this. Now that you have read about the various ways that you can reduce your expenses, you can see how easy this can be. It does not matter if you are cooking for one or ten; the principles are still the same.

You must plan properly or you will end up making impulsive purchases that can quickly eat into your food budget. This entails having recipes on hand that contain the proper number of servings and utilizing proper storage methods. Doing so will minimize or even eliminate the amount of food that you throw away each year.

Coupons and discounts through group membership are easy ways to save additional money each week. Not only that, purchasing from the right places can cut your food expenditures tremendously. Whether you are using co-ops or local farmers, you can have fresh and delicious foods that you never thought you could afford.

Remember that though kids are expensive, feeding them during the first year does not have to be. By breastfeeding an infant, you provide it with a healthier immune system and does not cost anything. Making baby food instead of buying it in jars will still keep the costs low during the time that baby cannot eat the same foods as the rest of the family.

You may decide to make your meals in bulk or even to share the responsibility with another to further your savings efforts. Each of these styles of food budget reduction has benefits and drawbacks, but the benefits generally outweigh the negatives.

Do not forget to pay attention to the foods you eat while on the go and the beverages that you may mindlessly purchase each day. Now that you have read about how these things can drain the rest of your efforts, you will find that you naturally want to make better choices in these situations.

Continue to work on your plans and make alterations as needed. If you do, you will be well on your way to having a lifetime of delicious meals each day that do not break the bank. You now possess the knowledge to make it so.