7 Super Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget Today – Pinch those pennies, stretch that budget, and still eat great food!
I don’t know about you, but my family LOVES to eat. Because of my family’s almost never-ending search for more food (apparently that’s just what boys do), my grocery budget is my largest single budget. But even for our constantly hungry family of 5, I always stretch our grocery budget.
The typical amount that a family should have in a budget for their groceries is $100 per month per person. So I have a family of 5 and in a month, I should spend $500 on groceries. That’s a crazy amount of money (but it’s still even less than what the average family spends)!
And while we spend $75 a week, it’s important to me to save as much money as I can on groceries so that even with our smaller budget, I don’t have hungry children gnawing at my ankles constantly.
Here’s what I do to make food last longer in my house.
Water down juice.
First off, we hardly ever have juice in my house (I know, I’m the meanest mom ever). But even when we do have juice, my kids have never had full juice. They have had cups of water that have about 25% juice in them. It’s almost all water, but it works and it lasts more than four times as long as you normally would if I didn’t water it down.
I even water down juices for my husband and me. Our discount grocer often has Naked juices, which are absolutely delicious and fantastic if you are just craving something sweet. But they’re also really thick. I split each 16-ounce ounce cup of juice and mix each half with a cup of water. Personally, I can’t even drink the juice anymore without watering it down. It’s too thick and it’s too strong. Getting into this habit has really helped us stretch every bit of juice that we got.
Learn how to cook your own beans.
Beans are high in protein, they’re very filling, and they’re very cheap. They are a great staple that you can get in bulk, preferably organic, and make yourself. Beans are really easy to make and they’re wonderfully customizable, especially if you have kids.
All you have to do is let them soak overnight, rinse them out in the morning, put them into either the crock pot or a pan with chicken broth or water and salt and spices and simmer them on low for about an hour more or less depending on how many beans you used. And that’s it! It’s really easy to make and it’s really fantastic.
It’s even easier with an Instant Pot; all you need to do is throw dried beans (no soaking required here) and enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches (you’ll want more liquid than you need just in case). Set it to “manual” for 55 minutes and BAM! Perfect beans.
Use your freezer.
Are your bananas on a crazy sale? Buy them all and freeze them! They’re fantastic for smoothies or for banana bread.
Do you have leftover stir-fry or soup? Or is your family done with the same food after two nights of the same dinner? Whatever’s left over, freeze it! Your leftover stir-fry and soup can be served over rice and it is just as delicious.
If your family is full of picky eaters? Make sure that everything is frozen instead of thrown out or pushed to the back of the fridge to die a slow, moldy death.
Always add a side of rice.
White rice is a fantastic, and super inexpensive, way to make any dinner last three times as long as it normally would. Rice is inexpensive and very filling. It’s a great way to get a picky eater to eat more vegetables and try different flavors.
My son absolutely used to hate soup (I don’t know why). But I started making rice and pouring the soup over top of the rice and he absolutely ate it up. Rice also helps make sure that little children are able to eat all of their soup without making a mess. The rice soaks up all of the juices and helps prevent crazy amounts of spilling. White rice is also gluten-free! If you can, try to get organic rice (I get mine off of Amazon for the best deal).
Don’t throw out your old veggies.
Squash squishy? Carrots and lettuce limp? Freeze them and add it to soup. If you are ever in need of adding vegetables to anything, make sure that you freeze any vegetables that are right on the edge of being spoiled. Instead of throwing them out, you can freeze them and add them to a lot of different recipes. Since produce is so expensive, this is a really great way to make sure that you’re not wasting any money.
What can you make with beans, canned tomatoes, rice, green beans and chicken broth? You can make bean soup, minestrone soup, or just goulash (which is the polite way of saying “this is what’s there, deal with it or starve”)! But sometimes, if you are trying to stick on to a budget, you have to get creative with what you have. Or you have to get creative with what’s on sale at the store. It’s really important to figure out how to make do with what you have on hand. I’d bet you can make an amazing dinner with just the contents of your pantry right now!
Never throw anything away!
The kids decided they hated dinner tonight even though they ate, and loved, the same thing the night before? Save it in the freezer for another night. Maybe add something to it when you thaw it, but never throw it out! Reinvent it!
Your kids don’t like leftovers? Or maybe your husband doesn’t like leftovers. Freeze them and save them for dinner another night. Small batch frozen dinners are just as delicious as big frozen dinners.
Make your yogurt last longer.
By adding granola to yogurt, you are making it last longer and you are making it more filling. You can even make your own yogurt. If you have a big yogurt eating family, making your own yogurt is a really great way to save a lot of money.
Does your family eat a lot of cereal?
If they do, save the crumbs at the bottom of the bag and add that to yogurt. It’s kind of like a make your own granola but without having to do any work. You’re also saving food that otherwise would have just gotten thrown out. It’s a win-win!
When you are trying to save money, sometimes your grocery budget has to take a big hit. But just because you aren’t spending tons and tons of money on groceries, that doesn’t mean that you have to starve!
How do you stretch your grocery budget?