I am a woman who prefers to cook from scratch. I have loved cooking since I was a kid and hope my children follow the same path.
To me, knowing how to do things from scratch is a primary way to save money on food. You pay for convenience.
Conversely, you save money on food by spending your time doing things for yourself.
How to Save Money on Food at Home
Determine which foods you use are the most expensive to buy. Purchase them when they are in season or grow them yourself and preserve them. Start with things you need in bulk, for example, tomato sauces.
I raise about 30 tomato plants a year. To save money I start them from seed myself. I actually start almost everything in my garden myself from seed because while it is cheaper to buy plants than buy produce, it is cheaper yet to start the whole cycle from seed to table yourself.
Starting things from seed enables you to pick high-yield varieties with shorter growing times. If you have a small greenhouse like I do, you prolong your harvest season by starting to grow things from seed like cucumbers, melons, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, etc.
How to Save Money on Food at the Grocery Store
When you buy items at the store stock up on things that will store for longer periods of time when they are on sale like pasta. Stock up on basic canned produce like diced tomatoes you can use for many purposes.
I dry lots of vegetable and use them to make cream soups, in stews, chili, dips, salad dressings and casseroles like scalloped potatoes. I grow herbs myself and dry and freeze them to use throughout the year. They tend to be expensive at the store.
When I can get bulk blueberries and peaches I can them for pie filling and make my crust from scratch. You can make-ahead dry ingredient bags for pancakes, waffles, breads, cakes, pizza crust and cookies. I make spaghetti sauce, dehydrate it on fruit roll trays, freeze the dry product to put on pizza and use in lasagna. I make pizza and freeze it to cook later. I make large batches of cookies and freeze part of the batch to have at a later time.
Once you know how much you need to have on hand in preserved food, you can supplement that with smart store buying and really come out ahead. If you have a busy lifestyle and quick-fix meals you can get there with preserved foods.
One of my favorite meals is canned venison over extra-wide egg noodles. I crack open a can of meat and throw in some canned beans and carrots. I boil it for 10 minutes because of the canned beans, check the seasoning, thicken with 1/4 cup flour and pour it over a bed of egg noodles. It doesn’t get much easier than that to put a meal on the table. All the cutting, peeling and chopping has already occurred and it is like I am eating at a great restaurant.
We grow our own onions which we turn into onion rings. We then freeze any leftover onions chopped before they can get rotten and I use them all winter for cooking in soups and casseroles. The key to saving money on food is good planning so you know how much you need to have on hand of meats, fruits and veggies to feed your family. Then you should look at achieving that goal from the cost and storage stand point.
If you do the planning you will be able to save money on food to its maximum potential.
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