When I talk with people about cutting down how much they spend on groceries a few things always come up first; using coupons, buying what is on sale and buying in bulk. I think that it is safe to say that one important component of spending less on food is often overlooked, portion size! It seems like a pretty simple concept; if you want to spend less on food then buy less food 🙂
You may say though “Christina, we still have to feed our family!” and I totally get that. In fact, in all honesty this is an area that I am constantly working on. I often make more food than is needed to feed our family; especially when it comes to treats.
Really though all it takes are some small changes in order to see the savings start to add up. Meat is one area where you can really see a difference by eating smaller portions. Think about this example for a minute. If you buy an 18 pack of chicken breasts and have 6 people in your family if you each ate one full chicken breast then that box will feed your family for 3 meals and a bit. Or, if you each ate 3/4 of a chicken breast each then one box would equal out to be 4 meals. Say you have chicken twice a week then looking at it over the course of a year that is a difference of 35 boxes versus 26 boxes. If each box costs $40 then that is a saving of $360. Not bad!
This principal can be used with starches, side dishes, snacks, condiments and desserts too.
Another option is to switch out more expensive items for cheaper ones so instead of say 50/50 when it comes to two ingredients do 60/40 with more of the cheaper item and less of the more expensive one. One example of this that we like is what we deemed ‘poor man fajitas’ where we switch out some of the meat and peppers for green cabbage. It may sound a little odd but they taste delicious!
Finally, you can completely switch out a more expensive item for a lower cost one. Using beans as a source of protein instead of meat is an example of this. Or eating apples in the winter time instead of strawberries which are not in season is another example.
Doing any or all of the above will help you to reduce your grocery budget and it will lead to a healthier body as it is getting a variety of the nutrients that it needs while not being overfilled.
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this! How do you use substitutions or portion size reductions to save money?