How to Eat Well on a Shoestring Budget

September 2, 2008 · Posted in Personal Finance 

With the prices of everything going up, it has become harder to pay bills, and still be able to afford to put food on the table for your family. It’s too easy to run out for fast food every time you have money available. When that happens, there is usually a bill somewhere that doesn’t get paid on time because you have just spent the money to eat out. There are ways to eat well, even if you are holding tightly to a shoestring budget.

Begin with meal planning. This is the best way to stay organized, and not have to decide every night what dinner will be. If you have done this correctly, you will have meals planned for 7 days. These will include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. There are even websites which show you how to feed a family of 4 from $45 – $70 a week. These are well balanced meals, too, not just all beans and rice. You may be able to afford more than that each week. Once you have figured out your weekly food budget, sit down and plan your meals.

Shopping is the next on your agenda. It is very important to have a list prepared so that you are not tempted to just grab things off the shelf. Discipline yourself to buy only what is on your list. If necessary, do the shopping trip alone, so you are not tempted to give in to requests for food you don’t need, or isn’t on your list.

Coupon clipping is not just for your mother and grandmother. This is a money saving tool that comes in handy, even today, if you do it wisely. When coupons are available to you, first select any that apply to something you already buy. Once those are put aside, you can go through some of the ones which might make a nice “treat” for the family. If the savings is high enough, you can add that to your shopping list. It’s always fun to see just how much you have saved by using coupons when you reach the checkout counter.

After following a good meal plan and food budget, you may find that you have saved enough money for a meal out for the family once or twice a month. As you get better at it, this could even be a once a week treat. You will be very surprised just how well you can eat with a little effort and planning.


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