Sunday, July 08, 2012

Feeding Your Family on a Budget

It's safe to say that almost everyone is starting to feel the pinch in their wallets these days. Prices are going up and pay rates stay the same.

So how are you supposed to feed your family on an ever shrinking budget?

First of all, you need to start planning out your meals. List at least seven breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, and drinks. It's not necessary to list chicken on Monday, ground beef on Tuesday.  Simply having seven meals for the week will allow to you choose a meal you have time to fix and feel like eating that day.  By planning out your meals you will be know exactly what is needed for the week.

Another important strategy for sticking to a budget is by shopping from a list and sticking to that list. Be sure to include everything you need  that week like paper products, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, etc. Then list the cost of each item. If you aren't sure of the price - estimate or set a limit to spend. This will allow you to add extras to the list or take away if you've gone over.

It may seem counter productive but go for quality when possible not always what is cheapest. Fresh veggies, lean protein, whole wheat foods are better for you and actually help you feel fuller than more processed foods. Helping you to actually eat less.

Start using generic or off-brand products. The name brand products have started reducing the quantity/size of products but still charge the same or more money. Canned goods, cereals even juices and sodas are doing this more and more. Things that used to contain 15oz now contain 13.5oz.  Pay attention to the packaging. Seek out products that will give you more for your money.

If you're budget is already stretched thin consider starting a vegetable garden. With a few seeds and a small plot of land you can start your own garden.  Even a small harvest will help a stretched budget. If you don't have a suitable plot of land available find a sturdy flower pot, bucket or container or some sort.

Consider exchanging beans for meat in at least one meal a week. Beans and lentils are good for you and fill you up without the high price tag.

Finally, be aware of what you eat and where. Start fixing more meals at home.  Eating out at restaurants can destroy a budget in a hurry. 

These are just a few ways to help you stick to a budget so you can feed your family.

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