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Tips on Controlling Food Costs

The cost of living is going up everywhere. Rents, utilities, and the cost of food is skyrocketing out of control. It is getting more difficult to feed a family and remain within the budget. A few tips can help people control what is spent on food. It will take some planning and discipline, but it can be done.

Cook

The first tip is to eat home more. Most people do not realize how quickly the costs of a pizza or fast food can add up. Value menu or not, cooking at home is typically much cheaper. It is also healthier. Limit dining out, including pizzas and other takeout meals, to once or twice per month.

If time is an issue, cook extra food so left overs can be enjoyed later in the week. Pasta dishes, chicken, and casseroles are ideal for this, and they taste just as good, if not better warmed up. The chicken is the most versatile food to make more of because it can go into stews and soups, be mixed with rice and vegetables, or used in a chef salad.

Plan Meals

Planning out meals before heading to the grocery store will also help control costs. Making a list informs shoppers which coupons or special offers to look for in flyers and online. Most grocery store chains, such as Panorama, publish weekly or monthly sales. Base menus on what is cheaper at any given time.

Eat Before Grocery Shopping

Going into a food store when hungry will result in an increase in impulse buying. That one muffin here and package of crackers two isles over will bring the total out of budget. Some people do not even realize they are doing it. Items in stores are strategically placed to encourage impulse buying so pay attention. If it is not on the list, it does not go into the cart.

Bake Treats

Ingredients for baking are less expensive than buying packaged cakes, cookies, or pies. Making them at home allows bakers to use less sugar and skip the preservatives altogether. The result is healthier snacks that cost less. Get the kids to help and have some fun.