When in season, buying fresh veggies and fruit is a good bet. “But buying some of your out-of-season vegetables and fruits from the frozen food section can offer considerable cost savings and even help reduce the trips you need to make to the store,” Taub-Dix says. For instance, a pint of fresh blueberries may cost $5 which is what you can get an entire bag of frozen berries for. As a bonus, frozen produce is harvested at peak ripeness and quickly frozen to maintain nutritional firepower.
Be the chef
It’s true that many restaurants need your support more than ever, but it’s also true that dining out and ordering take-out frequently is perhaps the quickest way to blow up your food budget. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that meals prepared at home allowed people to improve the quality of their diet at less cost. By contrast, eating out regularly was associated with higher food expenditures, yet lower diet quality.
Watch out for greenwashing
Food labels such as “hormone-free,” “freerange” and “all natural” often raise the price tag. Sadly, these nebulous terms too often lack any real muscle and might not be worth the extra cost. “Do your label reading research and look into the business practices of particular brands to determine where a splurge is worthwhile,” notes Taub-Dix.
Slash your grocery bill by taking a do-it-yourself approach to food. That means shelling your own shrimp, shredding your own cheese, deboning your chicken and chopping your own fruits and veggies.
Come with a plan
“Shoppers who show up at the grocer with a prepared buying list are less likely to make impulsive buys of foods they didn’t need,” explains Taub-Dix. Try planning a week’s worth of dishes, make a detailed list of necessary ingredients, and stick to it. “And organize your list in a way that corresponds to the layout of your store so you save time by not needing to backtrack,” Taub-Dix adds.
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