Health, Lifestyle, Wellness

4 Ways to Stretch Your Food Dollars in 2021

saving money on healthy food

I’ve never been known for my stellar budgeting skills (my husband can confirm this). But during a time when watching our dollars spent feels more critical than ever, I’m slowly learning to be more mindful of how much I’m spending and where. One area that continues to be a work in progress is my food and grocery budget. To help you become more of a frugal foodie, I’ve put together this list of tips.

Make takeout a special occasion. During our state’s safer-at-home order earlier this year, restaurant delivery became a regular occurrence for me. Now I’m focused on making this more of a weekly treat (spending $20 a week on takeout instead of $30 saves over $500 a year … yikes). And when you’re supporting your favorite local restaurant, try to skip the delivery apps and order directly through the restaurant instead. You’ll save on service fees and other charges, and more of the money will go to the restaurant.

Always make a list. While this tip is nothing new, it’s one of the best tools you can use to prevent overspending at the grocery store. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve walked out of the store having overspent with no clue what I bought. If a paper list isn’t really your thing, keep one in your phone and add to it throughout the week as you think of what you need.

Save the flavor. Whenever there’s a sauce or dressing packet in a frozen entrée or salad kit, I typically save half of it for later. It’s usually too much for one serving anyway, and saving it can be stretched or tweaked a little for other tasty possibilities. Take a packet of enchilada sauce, for example. Use half of it for your enchiladas and save the other half for roasted vegetables. Blend the sauce with a smidge of melted butter or olive oil, plus chili, onion and garlic powders, and drizzle over your favorite vegetables for a sweet and smoky side or mini meal.

Chill out with frozen vegetables. In my opinion, frozen vegetables are the most underrated healthy food. You don’t need to wash them, they’re widely available, they last for months, they’re just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts and they’re usually cheap.

Will these tips help you become wealthy overnight? Not exactly. But just like all other facets of health and wellness, every small change adds up over time.

Cheers to a 2021 filled with good food, laughs with friends and loved ones (even if they’re virtual laughs for now), and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

11 thoughts on “4 Ways to Stretch Your Food Dollars in 2021

  1. Thank you for these wonderful saving tips on Food Cost. I love using frozen bagged vegetables and fruits. Just as healthy as fresh. I’ve heard that frozen vegetables & frozen fruits are picked at their freshest and are frozen immediately; saving less loss of nutrients in the vegetables & fruits.

  2. I always save all envelopes that come into my home from delivered mail. I can then write grocery list on them and place food coupons with that grocery list .So everything is together when I head to grocery.

    1. What a GREAT idea! I have saved notepads (that come from non-profits looking for donations) which I write grocery lists on. Never thought of those envelopes though! Thank you!!

  3. Thanks for reminding us how to be frugal
    Sometimes when things are rough, we get carried away by shopping
    And eating

  4. Thanks Maggie, I make soups during the winter with veggies from my garden. I add more veggies and tomatoes and V8 juice or tomato juice or broth to stretch it a few more days and lots of herbs that I’ve grown in my garden too. The warmth of a healthy soup on a cold winter night is soothing and just well………….warming! Yummy! Thanks again as always!

    1. When cleaning and preparing your fresh veggies keep the peelings and freeze them. When you have enough make a soup stock .

  5. One thing that helps curb my spending is ordering groceries online and picking them up. I make my list, log on and order ( most times items are in my favorites which saves time on things I order regularly). When order is ready I drive to store for pick up…easy peasy! This saves me from wandering aisles I don’t need to wander down! I do still go to grocery for my produce and meats. I find I spend a lot less time in the stores though. This seems to keep me safe, healthy and more $$$ in my bank account.

  6. Thank you for reminding me about the simplicity of using frozen vegetables. I order all my food through instacart, and this should cut down on wasting food — those fresh vegies are so vulnerable if they are not used right away!! Keep up the good work – your ideas are invaluable!

  7. Thanks for reminding me of “Smoothies.” It’s been a long-g-g time since I’ve made Smoothies… I mean a “really long-g-g time”… Like years & years!!! – it’s back on my list now!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *