Food prices have been increasing all over the world as shortages are becoming apparent.
But here are some ways (over 100!) to shave off pennies, dimes and dollars from your food costs.
Not every tip fits every situation. A vat-size container of salad dressing is cheaper per ounce, but not if it sits in a single person's fridge for months on end. Remember, the most expensive food you can buy is the food that goes to waste.
1. For a week, track what your family actually spends on food. Don't forget to include work lunches, restaurant meals, vending-machine snacks and convenience store stops. These add up quickly.
2. Have a plan. Jot down simple dinner menus for the week, using the weekly grocery store ads so you can take advantage of what's on sale that week. Having a plan ends the 5 p.m. "what's for dinner?" plight.
3. Make a shopping list from your menu. Having the ingredients you need for the week eliminates extra trips to the supermarket, where more incidental items can end up in your grocery cart.
4. To save time, compile a basic shopping list of things you usually buy on a weekly basis, such as milk, lettuce, etc. Organize the list by the store layout and make lots of copies. Then each week it's just a matter of penciling in the extra ingredients from your menu.
5. Get out of the dinner rut. Check out cookbooks or magazines from the library or attend local cooking classes for new ideas.
6. For low-cost, nutritious recipe ideas, check the Food Stamp Nutrition Connection at recipefinder.nal.usda.gov
. The recipes have cost-per-serving and nutrition data.
7. Consider making from scratch many of the things you usually buy in prepared form, such as brownies or salad dressing.
8. Time is a valuable resource. It's usually not worth the time (or gasoline) to hopscotch from store to store to save a few dollars.
9. Consider the advantages when you choose where to shop. Some stores offer credit cards with rebates, discounts on gasoline, special coupons and so on.
10. Club warehouses can save money, but be judicious. Can you use 18 cartons of yogurt at a time? Often you can find similar good buys and a better selection at a regular grocery store.
11. Sometimes you're lured into buying things that lose their appeal and end up sitting on the shelf. To cure yourself of impulse shopping, every so often force yourself to make a meal out of those items in the cupboard.
12. Consider group strategies. A neighborhood group or extended family might save by buying in bulk directly from wholesalers and farmers.
Try shopping with cash, taking only an allotted amount to the store.
13. Try shopping with cash, taking only an allotted amount to the store.