Living Cheaply - How To Save Money On Food & Make Frugal Meals

- February 10, 2017

Living Cheaply - Frugal Living Tips Part Two 

This is the 2nd post in the Living Cheaply series we are doing on frugal living tips. This section will be about how to save money on food and making your own frugal meals at home. If you missed Part 1 you can check it out by clicking Living Cheaply - How To Make A Monthly Budget. Otherwise, let's get into our frugal live tip number two!

How To Save Money On Food   

Frugal cooking from scratch at home is a really good way to save money on food. 
With that said, many people still buy pre-made meals for home cooking. While yet pre-made meals are convenient. They are also quite expensive. To do this right you must buy the ingredients and make yourself a frugal meal. 

Purchase the staple ingredients vs purchasing the pre-made meals. This way you will be about to have more food than before with far less money. For Example, buy a bag of uncooked rice vs purchasing the microwaveable rice bags. 


Cut Down On Your Portions

Simply cutting down on your portion size will cut down on your grocery bill as well as your waistline. Instead of eating everything at once. Create a frugal meal by saving some for a later snack or full meal. I use these Containers so I can quickly store, warm up, and eat my food all from one plate without even having to wash anything. 

Tip: Don't forget you can also freeze leftovers if you not going to be eating them soon. 

Frugal Food Recipes

Frugal food recipes can be really simple and cheap. Start by just giving some new flavors and spices a chance in your kitchen. 
A simple chicken breast can become a great frugal meal with just a little seasoning or sauce. Don't be afraid to experiment with a spice that you may not be familiar with. 

Tip: Look for news spices at your local farmers market in your area. Or buy in bulk online and get even Organic seasonings way cheaper than anything you will find in the supermarket. For instance, I made a list of seasonings I keep stocked up from online in my house. 

Pound of Organic Garlic Salt   $5.79
Pound of Organic Onion           $7.52
Pound of Organic Paprika        $7.54
Pound of Organic Basil             $11.38
Pound of  Organic Oregano      $12.33

These may not be the current prices since the prices of Amazon often go up and down. However, this gives you a good idea of how much you could be saving by buying in bulk. 

Frugal Grocery Shopping 

Making a simple shopping list is at the heart of frugal grocery shopping. The key is to stick to your list after you make it. Only purchase what is on your list and nothing more. If you let yourself make impulse purchases and buy things you really do not need your grocery bill can skyrocket. 

Golden Rule Of Frugal Grocery Shopping 

Never forget the golden rule of frugal grocery shopping. Do not let yourself go grocery shopping while under the influence of hungry. Tip: Making a weekly menu will make drawing up a shopping list much easier. (This will also require you to stick to your menu)

Cheap Dinner Recipes 

Making cheap dinner recipes can be done with coupons. Building your weekly meals around product or store coupons is a great way to save money on your meals. 
For instance,  If there is a great sale on fish, consider a fish fry night. If you find a coupon for hamburger buns, it's time for a cookout.

Frugal Cooking 

Frugal cooking in larger part depends on meal extenders. Meal extenders are inexpensive healthy foods that when added a small meal becomes a large meal. 
For example, by adding a little more potatoes to a beer stew you will feed more people.  You can also add things like pasta, rice, and quinoa. 

Cut down on eating out.
Eating out is generally far more expensive than doing your own frugal cooking at home. These adding expense can rapidly add up to an insane grocery bill. 

Tip: Remember making your own lunch combined with going out less for meals will save you a lot. This rings true with coffee as well. Make it yourself instead of going to a coffee shop or a vending machine. Little things like this, add up to a lot. 

Find Cheap restaurants 

Studying the menu of the restaurant you will be attending before you go out for dinner is crucial. Otherwise, you will be put on the spot if the prices are not what you thought they would be. Tip: To cut down on the cost of the meal bring the leftovers back and make a second meal out of it. 

Keep your eye out for restaurant specials 

The discounted kids menu you will find in some places will cut down on your bill. Always look out for daily specials or discounts for police, military, or senior citizens. 

Alcoholic Drinks are usually by far the most expensive part of a meal. Drinking water instead which is usually free will cut down on restaurant bill a great deal.  

Buying in Bulk  - Costco Membership 

Tip: Splitting the fees of Wholesale stores with a friend obviously will cut your membership fees in half. For example, Costco stores issue you two ID's for two different people per Costco membership purchase. 

Bulk purchasing non-perishable items is a wonderful way to save money. Examples of bulk items include spices, seasonings,  pasta, canned food, dried goods, cooking oils, and frozen foods.   If you live in the U.S you can buy bulk items from wholesale stores like Sam's Club or Costco. Tip: You can also save a lot of money by purchasing your household items such as toilet paper and paper towels.                                                   

Start a Co-OP                                                               

Starting a co-op with nearby families is also a will save you money on food by combining your purchases and buying your goods in bulk. 

Healthy Frugal Meals 

If you can the most cost-effective way how to save money on food is to grow it yourself. With this method, it becomes very easy to prepare healthy frugal meals for your family. If you're renting an apartment this may be an issue of course. However, growing easy crops like lettuce or other leafy greens can be grown indoors by a window with little effort. 

Investing in perennial plants that keep on coming back and giving each year is a big cost saver. For Instance, you can grow different kinds of fruit, herbs, and berries.

Ask for Help 

How to save money on food may not be the right question to be asking in every situation. Sometimes we do not have money to be saving. In this case never be ashamed to ask for help if you are struggling, most of us either know someone we love or have been ourselves in a similar situation at some point in our life. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help, people will understand.

Take advantage of nutrition assistance programs in your area to make sure your family is taken care of.  You may even have organizations in your area that will provide assistance without any applications and income restrictions. 

If you live in the  U.S you can apply for the SNAP program. Also, know as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. You can also look into applying for state assistance. Often times the income requirements are not as strict as you might think. Often times they use what is called sliding-scale options to provide partial funding options. 


That is a wrap for how to save money on food & make frugal meals.  I hope this information has been as helpful to you as it was for me. Learning how to save money on food is one of the most overlooked aspects of a frugal living lifestyle. 

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our series. You should probably find it HERE within the next few days. 

As always if you guys have any questions or comments I would be happy to read whatever you guys have to say. If there is anything I can clear up about how to save money on food or making frugal meals I am here to help. 

Living on the Cheap - Saving money tips


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