I’m sure I haven’t been the only one to notice that food prices are sky rocketing. Just a few things that come to mind are butter which I use to be able to get on sale for 1,99$ is now on sale if I am lucky for 4,79$. The oats that I use to buy whole sale for 13,99$ are now 29,99$!!! Eggs are another big one that went from being on sale for 1,99$ to now 3,29$ on sale. I should mention these prices are all in Canadian dollars. So want to know my tips for staying within my budget?
Know your prices and shop sales. If you are aware of what you regularly spend on your the items you regularly purchase you will be able to tell if a sale is a good price or just the store being sneaky to get you in the door. If you do think it’s a good price buy 1 for now 2 for later(this works out especially well for meat)
Make meal plans that use the same ingredients but have different flavour profiles. For example if there’s a great sale on ground beef your going to want to eat a variety of meals so stock your spice blends. which brings me to my next tip
Have a good selection of spices on hand. Don’t go crazy all at once buy one of two spices a shopping trip. And don’t be afraid to check out your local Dollar store as well as bulk sale stores like Costco and wholesale club.
Learn to cook from scratch. I can already hear people saying but I don’t have time. To that I say you can’t afford to not have the time. Cooking from scratch can be as simple as when you’re baking a casserole bake a second one to throw in the freezer. Or investing in a bread machine from a local thrift store and let the machine do the work for you. Cooking from scratch is also a way to spend time with family by baking cookies, quick breads etc that everyone can enjoy. Batch cook pancakes on the weekend and throw them in the freezer and so on. Also items like bone broth, yogurt etc are a fraction of the price if made at home. If you have an instant pot or crockpot it needs minimal hands on work.
Learn your weekly sales flyer rotation and stock up based on that. I have learned over the many years that the meat sales go on rotation. One week it will be beef, another week pork, another week poultry etc. If you slowly accumulate your stock in the freezer and pantry you will have a variety in a few short months.
Don’t be afraid of the freezer section. While fresh produce and fruits are lovely to have when your budget is tight you want zero food waste. So plan to have some fresh produce and then have a stock of frozen in the freezer for in between your bi weekly or monthly shopping trips.
Do a monthly grocery haul. This one has taken me years to perfect and it’s still not 100% but the less we are in stores the less likely we are to impulse buy. With that being said if there’s an item that you use regularly in your monthly flyer on sale then try and stick to only the item you intended to go buy and not the extras.
Buy your meat on the bone. While this may seem like it’s extra work you really want the bones. The cost of bone broth or even just stock can be what puts the budget over. If you have bones in your freezer from a previously cooked meals then with minimal ingredients you were most like going to throw out (like vegetable ends and peels) you can essentially make a free broth that you can then can or freeze.
Try and source items directly from the farmer. I have stopped buying eggs in the grocery store and now buy from a local farmer. I’ve also sourced local berries and apples I can attain in bulk and then process into applesauce, pie filling, apple butter, fruits for smoothies etc. Not all local produce and food items will be a good deal so know your prices. I know that my apples are 1$ a lb year round from my local farm and that my eggs are 3,40$ a dozen(which is a good price based on the above mentioned sales price)
Learn to love making soups, stews and crockpot casseroles that can be stretch out by adding extra potatoes or pasta or rice. Or even serving a bread with it. Best part is even if it’s too hot to turn on the oven a crockpot produces minimal heat in your kitchen. If you make a big batch of soup/stew/ casserole they can be individually frozen for lunches or other dinners later in the month.
Learn to like leftovers. Adapt a zero waste rule in the household and either reheat or reinvent your leftovers to feed your family. Heck leftover night can even be a night off cooking 🙂
I’m sure I have some more tips and tricks I can’t think of at the moment but if I do I will share them with you in another blog.
How are you keeping your food costs down? Or what are you changing now that the prices of everything have skyrocketed?