How to Buy Food on a Budget

With the rising costs of living, many people are facing financial struggles that make it difficult just to buy food. It can be especially challenging when you’re first starting out in a career, often at entry-level pay while facing student loans, although tough times can happen to anyone.

Of course, you might just want to have some money left over to save if you’re hoping to eventually purchase your own place. The steps for “how to buy a home” typically include saving a significant amount – the experts recommend 20% which is no small chunk of change considering the average sales price of a new home in the U.S. as of June 2019 was a whopping $368,600 as of June 2019, according to US Census data.

While we all have to eat and groceries can be pricey, there are ways to buy food even on the tightest budgets.

Community Gardens

Community gardens have become increasingly popular throughout the U.S. They’re typically open to nearly anyone who lives nearby who is willing to put a little work in, like weeding, planting, and watering, in exchange for some of the produce. Even when you aren’t scraping just to get by or saving for a home, they’re worth participating in as there’s nothing like fresh vegetables and herbs – they’re more nutritious and taste better too.

Look for Savings Everywhere

Always keep an eye out for sales and look for savings everywhere you can. For example, if your local supermarket offers a savings card, be sure to sign up. You’ll probably receive weekly emails that will tell you what’s on sale too. Rather than shopping for groceries based on a weekly meal plan, you might plan your meals around what’s on sale.

Basically, you’ll start with that email newsletter or flyer and use it to identify the cheapest things to base your meals around. Come up with dishes using those inexpensive ingredients and perhaps other things you already have at home, then plan out your next week using those meal ideas. Bring a list of those items you need to the store and then stick to it.

Plan Simple Meals

We probably don’t have to tell you that you should forgo dining out when on a very tight budget. Making your own meals is a must, but the key is to make them simple. The more basic the ingredients, the less they’re going to cost you. While frozen burritos may seem cheap at first glance, you can easily put together your own and pay far less by purchasing a package of cheap tortillas, a dozen eggs, some cheese and a jar of salsa.

Cook Large Portions and Eat Leftovers

Cooking larger meals, even if it’s just for one, can save you time and money. Think casseroles, stews, chili, soups, and those burritos. You can freeze items individually or in single-portion sizes to be enjoyed later for lunch or additional dinners. When you have convenient, ready-made meals, it’s a lot less tempting when you’re short on time to spend money you don’t have on take-out or delivery.

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