From the rising food costs and inflation, many are having more challenges with seemingly a tighter budget. Here are some tips to stretch your budget a little further.
- Have three to four recipes you plan to make in the upcoming week.
- Here are some pantry friendly recipes:
- Grocery list – Prepare your grocery list in advance. If you share a grocery list with someone else in the house, consider using a cloud-based notes application.
- Aim to use plant-based meals every week: legumes (e.g. canned and dried beans and lentils), tofu
- Frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh — consider buying frozen if this is cheaper.
- Seasonal produce tends to be cheaper. Use this guide: https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide
Before you go to the grocery store, take stock of what items you have already and which items you will need to buy. Check your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
- Flyers – Use grocery flyers or apps like Flipp® or Reebee® to help find deals.
- Price match – Some stores will price match the lower advertised price from a competitor. Provide the retail clerk with a digital or print copy of the competing offer (flyers are helpful here), they will sell you the product for a lower price. You can check online (or ask in store) if a grocery store will price match.
- You can “rain check” at grocery stores if an item on sale is out of stock.
- This allows you to return at a later date to purchase the item when it is back in stock at the sale price. The standard is that this offer lasts 30 days, but check with your store.
- Wait for pantry items to go on sale, then stock up!
- Be flexible — if recipes call for certain ingredients, look up substitutes or alternatives. For example, if a recipe calls for asparagus but it is not asparagus season, you can consider using another vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- Don’t throw out all your scraps!
- Keep seafood shells, bones of meats, and odds and ends of vegetables in freezer bags. You can turn these into broths.
- There are online resources for how to use food scraps, check them out!
- Make extras, especially vegetables and grains. You may find other ways to repurpose this. For example, sautéed veggies can go into a salad for lunch the next day. Leftover meats can be cut up to be included in a wrap the next day. Last night’s stir fry can be cooked with farro or barley as a new side dish.
- Freeze cooked meals into portions you will likely consume in a week. (e.g: two or three portions of chili or soup that you can reheat throughout the week and have with sandwich or salad).
- Freeze meals already portioned into a balanced plate to create a homemade “TV dinner.”