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Food

17 Easy Ways To Save Money On Food And Still Eat Well

Because there are ways to treat both yourself and your bank account well.

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1. Make a grocery list and actually stick to it.

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This one isn't new, but there is a reason why it's the go-to method for countless households. Going to the supermarket without an idea of what you want to buy will inevitably lead to waste and unnecessary expenses. Plan your week, make a list, stick to it.

Find printable grocery lists here.

2. Stop throwing away food scraps you could use.

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You can use Parmesan rind for a flavorful broth or make a delicious salad using broccoli stalks. Sometimes being more creative in your cooking and willing to try new things also means being less wasteful, and saving money.

Learn everything you could do with foods you're throwing away here and get the recipe for the parm broth here.

4. Buy grains, cereal, rice, beans, nuts, and seeds in bulk.

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This way, you can buy the exact quantity you want and you don't have to pay for a brand or a fancy package. (Bonus point: If you're bringing your own containers, you're one step closer to a zero-waste lifestyle.)

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5. Buy seasonal produce.

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Seasonal produce is cheaper, healthier, and tastier, so don't go buying blueberries in January when citrus is in season.

Check out what recipes are in season this month here.

6. It's not for everyone, but meal planning is a great way to predict and control your food expenses for the week.

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Sure, it's less spontaneous than deciding where and what to eat at the last minute, but this way you won't end up spending a ton of money on delivery and takeout. So plan ahead, make sure you use the same ingredients several times during the week so they don't go to waste, and stick to your menu.

Here's a seven-day meal plan that's doable and won't cost you more than $3.50 per meal.

7. Buy things on sale and freeze them for later.

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Watch out for the sales at your local store. For instance, if they're having a sale on meat, fill your freezer now so you don't have to buy any meat in the next couple of months.

And here are some recipes you can make once and freeze all winter.

8. Buy whole chickens instead of the expensive packaged cuts.

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Two organic chicken breasts at my local NY store cost at least $9. A whole organic chicken is around $15 and makes for much more meat and more dinner options throughout the week.

When you buy a whole chicken, you can go about it two ways: Either debone the raw chicken, place the different cuts in ziplock bags, place what you'll eat within a few days in the fridge, and freeze the rest for later. Or, you can roast a whole chicken and use different cuts throughout the next 3–4 days.

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9. Or buy a rotisserie chicken and use the cuts in different recipes.

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Rotisserie chickens are sometimes cheaper than raw ones and also very low-effort.

Find a whole week's worth of recipes using rotisserie chicken here.

10. Cook large batches of one recipe and eat it over several days.

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If you have a slow cooker, it'll become your best friend — otherwise a big pot will do. Make a big batch of stew or soup on Sunday and eat the leftovers within the next three or four days (or freeze what you won't eat). If you're dreading the monotony of eating the same thing over and over again, try to get creative with the leftovers: Use your leftover chili to make a sloppy joe, vary the toppings on your cauliflower soup, or switch up what sides you serve your pulled pork with.

Find some freezer-friendly recipes here.

11. Eat less meat.

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Meat is often the most expensive part of a recipe and something you can easily cut back on while still having a very balanced diet. Try eating more eggs instead and check out these protein-packed recipes with no meat.

Get the recipe for vegan stuffed peppers here.

12. If you can, grow your own herbs.

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Not everyone has the space, patience, and access to sunlight needed to grow their own herbs. But considering how pricey herbs can be, if you can grow them then it's really worth the investment. And some herbs, like chives, mint, or basil, are very easy to grow.

Learn more about growing your own herbs here.

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13. Track your food expenses in a journal.

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A journal, a notebook, or an excel sheet... It doesn't matter — as long as you start tracking what you spend to see what you should cut back on. You might realize that you spend over $100 a month on Starbucks coffee and start making your own instead.

14. Buy your spices at a spice store.

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Spices cost A LOT, but they're also the best way to turn even the most boring dish into an explosion of flavor. If there's a spice store near you, check it out and buy spices there. They're usually cheaper than in a grocery store and come in larger quantities. (You can also buy spices online in specialized stores or on Amazon).

15. Skip organic produce if it's on the Clean Fifteen list.

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If you're going to buy organic, start with produce that's on the Dirty Dozen list. For stuff like avocados and cabbage — both part of the Clean Fifteen — you can save money by going conventional.

16. Don't buy pre-cut veggies and fruits.

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If you're buying precut veggies and fruits, you're probably throwing your money down the drain. Buy whole, cut and prep yourself, and use ziplock bags if you don't want to eat everything in one go. It may be a little more effort but it'll make for more food for less money (and less plastic waste!).

Let us know what's your go-to way to save money when it comes to food in the comments!