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4 Ways to Slash Down Your Food Budget

The Best Top 4 Ways to Slash Down Your Food Budget

Slash Down Your Food Budget: The cost of food is on the rise across the US. According to the USDA’s report on food prices in 2022, eating out will see the highest increase at 5.5% – 6.5%, while grocery expenses will rise between 3% to 4% in the coming months. All food categories will have a price hike, except for fresh vegetables. The biggest hikes concern beef, meat, and poultry; the latter, along with eggs, are seeing unstable prices due to avian flu. While meal planning and shopping with a list are great ideas to help your budget in the next few weeks, there are other ways to cut down household food expenses. Here are four tips to consider:

Grow your own produce

As mentioned earlier, meat, poultry, and fish prices are on the rise. It simply makes sense to eat more fruits and vegetables, replacing your regular diet with healthy, “meatless” options like beans or tofu. Even better, why not try your hand at growing produce yourself? With enough time and space, you can have a supply of fresh crops or herbs year-round. And if your garden yields a bumper crop, you’d have opportunities to preserve food for later use by canning, pickling, or fermenting. If you’re not sure where to begin, Epicurious’ guide to growing your own food recommends to start with produce you’ll utilize the most, rather than the ones you think are easiest to grow. Tomatoes, peas, peppers, lettuce greens, and kale are some of the best options.

Have potluck events with friends and neighbors

Expenses can add up quickly when you go out to dinner with friends. Transportation or fuel costs, tips, drinks, and babysitting fees (if you have fees) can all wrack up a hefty bill, excluding the meal itself. Rather than planning restaurant dinners, a traditional potluck event can save you more money for food. Monthly or weekly communal meals — where each guest prepares a homemade dish — can be a great way to cut down socializing costs. To prepare food for your guests, you’ll need to buy food in bulk, which is always cheaper. Plus, you can try more food, get new recipe ideas, and spare yourself from the exhaustion of a night out.

Order takeout directly from a restaurant

Ordering takeout from food delivery services has become a lifeline for many people over the past few years, especially during the height of the pandemic lockdown restrictions. However, an AskMoney article on the hidden costs of food delivery points out that ordering from a third-party delivery service can actually increase the price of your order by 44%. Often, this price increase is due to the commission that delivery apps charge restaurants to be listed on their platforms. These are reflected as tacked-on “service fees” or higher menu prices for the food. Instead of ordering from a third-party delivery service, consider ordering from the restaurant itself or picking up the food whenever possible to minimize those costs.

Actively look for discounts and promos

In a highly competitive environment, many retailers are offering special promotions, discounts, and sales. These reduced prices are great, especially if it gives you the chance to stock up on products with longer shelf life, such as dry pasta or jars of marinara sauce. You can also find a lot of online-only deals, cashback apps, coupons, and loyalty programs that may be worth your while, provided you do sufficient research on them. Be active in looking at store flyers and newspaper ads as well. Do be smart when finding promos, however. As we mentioned our post on the ‘Costco Food Box Giveaway Scam, there are many false promises floating around on social media — such as posts claiming Costco will offer $75 in coupons for its 35th anniversary in exchange for likes, comments, and shares.

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