The average American family spends $412 on food each month. Unfortunately, that doesn’t buy as much as it did even two years ago. The cost of food is at a 20-year high due to inflation.
Yet, some savvy families discovered how to cut those costs dramatically. You can too! Read on to learn tips and tricks to save money on food.
1. Barter and Trade With Neighbors
You don’t have to pay for food when you barter or trade for it. Many neighbor communities have formal barter groups, like Timebank. Timebanks let people voluntarily trade goods and services, and earn “time dollars” for their labor.
Another barter option is your local Buy, Sell, Trade group on Facebook. You may be able to trade, say, babysitting, or repair services, for food.
2. Supplement With Farming, Fishing, Foraging
It is legal in most states to fish to supplement nutrition. It costs less to start trawling than it does to grow staple crops like potatoes.
To start small, consider farming hens or ducks. It’s easy to harvest their eggs, which are a great source of protein.
You can also save money by growing otherwise-pricey spices indoors. Forage wild berries or herbs to jumpstart your garden. For safety, use up-to-date identification guides.
3. Master The Art of Leftovers
Look up recipes that let you transform leftovers into something new, with a little heat and spice. Pan-fried leftover pizza is way better than the microwaved version. You get the best restaurant savings when the meal feeds you twice!
Plan for leftovers ahead of time. Chilis, bakes, pasta, and stews are low-cost meals when made in bulk.
Once the meal’s over, freeze everything that’s left. Keep it airtight.
Then, when it’s time to reheat, keep a few strategies on hand to keep things tasting fresh. For example, try re-steaming rice so it softens as you heat it.
When leftovers taste good, you’ll toss out old food less often—and grocery shop less frequently. That’s how to save money on groceries no matter what you eat!
4. Coupon Like a Champion
If you want new food savings every day of the week, level up your couponing game. Coupons are how to save money at restaurants and in stores, all at once.
Couponing apps like Ibotta, Rakuten, and Honey let shoppers stay on top of local savings. Different apps have different features, so download several.
Then, combine the apps with good old paper coupons. Subscribe to free newspaper inserts to maximize grocery savings. Or, ask local gas stations if you can have their unsold/recycled Sunday newspapers.
Stay alert for coupons with high or no limits. In those cases, you can double or triple savings by combining coupons. You may want copies of the insert to get the double deal.
Finally, bookmark the Groceries and Markets section of Groupon. Often, the front-page promo codes offer 75% off!
5. Discover Deal Influencers
Already a coupon champ? Take it to the next level with deal influencers.
Deal influencers are bloggers, video creators, and newsletter writers who describe bargain-hunting strategies. They also highlight savings opportunities their audience can take immediate advantage of.
Some influencers are individual thought-leaders. Others are groups, like Canadian Free Stuff. The blogs and newsletter at Canadian Free Stuff offer insider insights on getting, well, free stuff: click for more.
6. Save Money on Food With Assistance Programs
Aid programs are a way for communities as small as a neighborhood—and as big as a nation—to take care of one another. You may be surprised to discover you qualify. Many non-profit programs have no qualification barriers at all.
Officials maintain a directory of food assistance programs in the United States on this page.
That page includes a phone number for emergency food. It includes programs specifically for Senior Citizens, children, pregnant women, and mothers.
For local programs, search “food assistance near me” in Google. In Canada, use the Food Banks Canada database.
7. Live That Freegan Life
Freegans are ethical “dumpster divers.” They reject our culture of over-consumption and waste. They try to get most food and other goods for free.
Dumpster diving is generally legal, although some cities impose fines over it. Freegan groups explain how to get free food safely through urban foraging, free stores, and mutual aid groups like Food Not Bombs.
Religious freegans sometimes attend free meals hosted by their local churches, temples, or synagogues.
Earn More, Save More: Money Tips Today
You just learned how to save money on food. What do you want to learn next? Discover more tips and strategies in the articles below.