10 Ways to Budget Your Food Dollars

These days, saving money is a top priority.  Here are a few ideas that will help you and your family save money on food.  These easy tips will really add up to big savings over time.  Which ones you can start today?

          1. Take some time to plan your meals.  Make a grocery list and organize it week to week.  Going in with a plan means less trips going back to the store to get things you forgot. Fewer trips means saving money!
          2. Plan some meals with less meat.  Eggs, dried beans and even peanut butter can be an affordable protein dish.
          3. Check the grocery store flyer for sale items and try to plan meals around them.  Most flyers come out between Wednesday and Friday.
          4. Items from convenience stores are usually more expensive.
          5. Check out your local dollar store.  Many dollar stores have bread, milk, crackers, and canned foods as well as spices.
          6. Try shopping on a full stomach.  When you shop hungry, you usually come home with more things you may not have needed.
          7. Know it is okay to make some last minute changes to your list while shopping. This is especially true at the farmers' market.  Maybe you were planning to buy broccoli but green beans are cheaper.  Go for the cheaper item!
          8. Compare the prices of bulk versus single servings.  For example, quick cooking oatmeal is less expensive and just as easy as the single serving oatmeal packets.
          9. If your kids like the crust cut off their sandwiches, save the crust and freeze to use in recipes that call for bread crumbs.  You can also use the crust to make stuffing.
          10. Buy store brands in place of national brands.  Also compare their unit prices. The taste and quality are often very similar.
For more shopping tips, visit  101+ Ways to Save Food Dollars  -- adapted from Alabama Cooperative Extension
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall