1. Check the cabinets to see what you have and what you might need. Tape a list inside the cabinet and when you notice you need something, write it on the list, then you have a shopping list started for when you have to go shopping.
2. Make a weekly menu. Sometimes this changes because you may not have something or forgot to get it, or ran out of money. Be flexible and creative. You may have to make a meal with foods that you might not ordinarily see together as a meal, but if it is nutritionally good and your family will eat it, then it will keep them from going hungry.
3. Make a grocery list of needed items, and stick to it. NO extras. There will be times that you can, but not always. If there are children and you have a little extra, get something they all like, or something that one likes and maybe next time get something that someone else likes. Be fair.
4. Buy store brands when possible. Compare prices, sometimes a name brand is cheaper because of a sale.
5. USE COUPONS!! But don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal. Buy it only if you need it.
6. Take a calculator to the store. Be aware of the tax rate and know how to add this to your amount. Don’t get to the register and act surprised that you don’t have enough money, and have to put things back. Not only is it embarrassing, it causes more time in line for you, the cashier, and other customers. Besides, in an attempt to hurry, you may put something back that you REALLY needed.
7. Watch the sale ads. Sometimes you can get extra of something and freeze it.
8. ALWAYS check the “Clearance” aisles. Sometimes stores will put things on clearance that haven’t even got to the shelf date. Breads that you can get for $.49 and freeze.
9. Try not to go shopping with children – so you don’t have “can I have this?!” or “can we get that?”
10. Try not to buy too many convenience foods - (foods that are already cooked, and all you have to do is warm them up). They are more expensive and have more preservatives.
11. Watch your portions! Know what an actual serving size is. Americans have more health and weight problems because we don’t pay attention to this.
12. Don’t eat out! Not only is this expensive, but here again is prepared foods which have more caloric values than something you could have fixed at home.
13. Feel like you don’t have the time? Teach the kids to help with some of the food preparations. Added bonus, if you teach them to make menus and lists, when they are adults they will have a better chance to make wise choices and live healthy. Take the time so that your family will be healthier. Be an example! Turn off the tv for a few minutes and go cook something. Prepare for the next day.
14. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables when you can. If this is not an option, canned will work. Buy fruits in juice or water.
15. Find ways to stretch your food. Make casseroles. If you are making Hamburger Helper, use ½ pound of meat and add a handful of macaroni, and a couple of slices of cheese, or you can add a can of vegetables into the mixture and have a different vegetable on the side. If you are making a Mexican dish, add a can of pinto beans or black beans. Makes the meal go farther.
16. If you can get samples or reduced price items, try them. If you like them, you can buy them again. If not, you don’t have to.