Tips to combat rising food costs

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news or noticed it yourself: the trip to the grocery store is getting more and more expensive. I’ve read article after article in our own Bozeman Daily Chronicle comparing the prices of food now versus a year ago and seen segment after segment on the cable news channels. So, what do we do? I’ve compiled a few quick tips.

Plan ahead: By mapping out a month or a week of meals in advance you are less likely to blow your food budget on eating out or high priced convenience foods. You can also integrate the leftovers from one day into the next day’s meals, which brings me to my next tip.

Use your food wisely: My mother didn’t raise me to be wasteful… I figured that out on my own. Periodically take stock of your refrigerator, freezer and fresh foods and use those things up before they go bad or get freezer burn. By doing this you won’t be constantly buying food to replace the food that would have been perfectly good if you’d just eaten it in time.

Buy in bulk: Buy giant bags of pretzels or chips and repackage them in snack size resealable bags to preserve their freshness. Buy canned goods that you use often by the case when they’re on sale. Check expiration dates and pay attention to what you can buy in a bigger size. Generally the larger size packages have a lower price per ounce and those nickels and dimes will add up.

Watch for sales: Keep your eye on the weekly advertising inserts in the newspaper and plan your meals for the week and your shopping around the good deals. Keep your eyes open though, the advertised sales aren’t always very good deals. If you end up buying frozen meals just because they’re on sale you probably aren’t saving as much as you could by putting in a little time in your kitchen and cooking from scratch.

On their own these ideas don’t add up to much, but in combination and with a little vigilance your trips to the store won’t seem to cost as much as a luxury cruise.

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