Budget Friendly Food Tips for Non-Coupon Clippers
Do you clip coupons, browse flyers or use money saving grocery apps? If so, you’re already using some great strategies for saving money on groceries. Keep doing what you’re doing!
If you’re like me and can’t get into the routine of clipping coupons or scanning flyers, don’t worry, there are other ways to stay on budget at the grocery store. Here are my five favourite tips for staying within my food budget.
- Make a Meal Plan and Shop Accordingly
It always surprises me how much time, stress and money I save with weekly meal plans. Jotting down a few meal ideas makes meal prep less stressful and helps me create a shopping list which leads to fewer last-minute trips to the grocery store, less impulse buying and less over-buying. And, because we eliminate the five o’clock panic of “what’s for dinner”, we also end up spending less money on restaurants and take-out.
- Eat Seasonally
Choosing seasonal produce is a budget friendly way to shop. Not only does seasonal food offer the best value, it tastes better too. I can’t wait for local berries, garden tomatoes and sweet corn on the cob this summer. In fact, I’ll be buying extras so I can preserve some for the winter.
- Buy Frozen and Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Our prairie climate makes it challenging to eat fresh produce at an affordable price during the winter. That’s when I switch to frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Because commercially frozen produce is frozen as soon as it’s harvested, it’s just as nutritious as the fresh version. I also like that it’s easy to use and there’s never any food waste because I only thaw what I need. Plus, frozen and canned fruits and veggies go on sale regularly – that’s when I restock my pantry and freezer.
- Make The Most of Leftovers
Leftovers don’t have to be boring, reheated repeats of what you ate the night before. I love using leftovers to freeze for a quick meal another time or to repurpose ingredients into a new dish. In fact, I often purposefully cook twice as much so I have extras to freeze or to start prepping the next day’s meal. For example, if we’re having a roasted chicken dinner, I’ll cook enough so I can make chicken corn chowder or chicken tacos the next day. Recipes for fried rice, soups, stir fries, omelettes, frittatas and casseroles are great for using leftovers.
- Reduce Food Waste
Did you know the average Canadian household throws out $1,100 of food per year according to Love Food Hate Waste Canada? That’s like leaving one full bag of groceries in the parking lot every time you shop. What a waste! By being more aware of how much we buy, what food items we toss most often, how to use Best Before Dates properly, how to store fresh food better and what to do with imperfect food we can significantly reduce that number.
For example, if you had to name the most common food tossed out in your house, what would it be? Now think of what you could do to reduce that waste? Sometimes we just need to stop and think about the routines in our house and what we can do differently. At our house, we often toss cucumbers. We love cucumbers, but I buy too many because I get lured in by the Value Pack, where you get three cucumbers for slightly more than the price of one. It’s such a great bargain that I can’t resist. Sadly, despite our best intentions, not all those cucumbers make it to the dinner table. To break that habit, I now have a strict one cucumber shopping rule and remind myself it’s not a bargain if it gets tossed.
Do you have other tips for saving money on groceries? We’d love to hear them, leave a comment and let us know.
Veggie & Cheese Mini Frittatas
These mini frittatas are a tasty grab and go snack and a great way to use leftovers, seasonal veggies or whatever you have in your fridge.
1 Tbsp canola oil or non-stick cooking spray
1/2 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, peas, onions etc.)
2-3 Tbsp fresh herbs (dill, parsley, chives, tarragon, oregano, basil, savory, thyme) 1-2 tsp dried herbs
Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Use silicone liners or grease large, non-stick muffin tin.
Whisk eggs in large bowl. Mix in salt, garlic powder and half the cheese.
Stir in chopped vegetables and herbs.
Distribute evenly into 12 muffin cups, each about ¾ full.
Top with remainder of cheese.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until tops begin to brown and center of muffins are set.
Take out of oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes before removing from pan and serving.
Enjoy hot or cold. Store in fridge for 4 days or wrap and freeze for quick snacks.
Makes: 12 muffins
Recipe & Photo by: Getty Stewart, Professional Home Economist
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Getty Stewart, Professional Home Economist
Getty Stewart is a Freelance Professional Home Economist who shares recipes and tips for enjoying and preserving seasonal foods. She shares her passion through writing, blogging, social media and workshops. Getty is a prairie girl, mom, gardener and outdoor enthusiast.