Slash Your Grocery Bills With These Budget-Friendly Meal Tips

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Eating on a budget does not mean you have to compromise on quality. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!

All it takes is a little focus and determination. Whether eating local produce in season, planning your weekly meals, or growing your own vegetables, taking charge of how and where you get your food can lead to big savings… and can be really rewarding.

Here are 20 best ways to eat affordably without skimping on quality.

1. Make meal plans

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Be sure to plan your week, from breakfast and lunch to dinner and snacks. 

2. Eat seasonally

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It is cheaper to buy produce in season, but the flavor will be much better! It’s nature’s way of telling you to eat what’s available.

3. Take a look around your kitchen before you shop

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Making a proper list after scoping out your kitchen means you’ll be less likely to over-shop.

4. Shop for discounts

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Know when your local stores have big discounts, especially on fresh fruit and vegetables.

5. Buy frozen when it makes sense

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Frozen berries for smoothies, frozen peas, and frozen fish are all as good when frozen as they are fresh and cheaper.

6. Shop in grocery stores

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Buy fruit and vegetables from local grocery stores, which are often cheaper than supermarkets. 

7. Use an online budget builder 

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It’s a great way to stay organized and compare prices, making sure you’re getting the best value for money. 

8. Eat less meat

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Not only is it better for the planet, but eating less meat is better for your bank balance. Replace some meat dinners with legumes or mushrooms.

9. Freeze your leftovers

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Stop throwing leftovers away! If you think you won’t be able to eat them in a day or so, freeze them and enjoy them later.

Be sure to check freezing guides and build up your knowledge of how to freeze your favorite dishes.

10. Don’t waste food!

Bowl of fresh turkey giblet brothBowl of fresh turkey giblet broth
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Wasting good ingredients is a culinary crime. Find ways to use up every part of your ingredient to minimize waste and maximize flavor.

This turkey giblet broth recipe is the perfect example of getting the most out of your ingredients.

11. Batch cook

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Have a favorite recipe? Scale it up and cook a big batch! Then, freeze the leftovers for easy preparation later.

12. Be energy efficient

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Whether you’re using an air fryer or an Instant Pot or batch cooking in the oven, saving energy in the kitchen is a great way to cut costs.

13. Get creative with leftovers

Fully baked lasagna to make a leftover turkey recipeFully baked lasagna to make a leftover turkey recipe
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Nowadays, there are so many amazing leftover recipes; you’ve really got no excuse! 

Just take this leftover turkey lasagna, for instance. 

14. Don’t throw food unless you really need to

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Know the difference between best-before dates and use-by dates. If your food has passed its use-by date, it’s unsafe—chuck it. However, best-before dates are a marker of quality, and if stored properly, the product should be fine if it smells, looks, and tastes okay.

15. Use flavor bombs

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It might seem expensive initially, but splashing out on a few flavor bombs – those amazing ingredients that elevate a dish – can save you money in the long run. Cook simple and affordable, then add a sprinkle of magic!

16. Grow your own

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Nothing is quite as satisfying as cooking a meal with ingredients from your garden. Whether just a few herbs or the whole vegetable section, go homegrown and savor it in style!

17. Forage

Two bowls of green wild garlic soupTwo bowls of green wild garlic soup
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Almost as satisfying as growing your own ingredients, foraging for vegetables, mushrooms, and more is a great way to maximize flavor and save those cents.

This wild garlic soup is a great example of a dish that consists of forageable ingredients.

18. Buy in-house brands

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Just because it’s a big brand doesn’t mean it’s better quality. Plus, branded products can often be double the price or more. 

19. Don’t shop on an empty stomach

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You’ll be at the mercy of temporary cravings rather than logic-based decisions that consider nutrition and a weekly plan.

20. Make food you can store long-term

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For example, homemade chutney recipes are a great way to use up a glut of fruit or vegetables. They bring extra flavor to your favorite dishes and keep them well.

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