Millions of Americans have big dreams of tightening their belts and saving a little more cash in 2013. It is relatively easy to eliminate unnecessary expenses, such as that daily morning latte. But trimming food costs can be trickier. After all, everyone needs to eat.
Still, it can be done. A quick Web search will turn up lots of great books and blogs about effective meal planning that can help you significantly cut costs. Follow these four tips to save even more.
1. Avoid eating out for dinner
Most people know you can save more money by preparing your own food. But if there is a new restaurant or a favorite hot spot you just have to try, avoid going during dinnertime, when prices are double or triple the cost of breakfast and lunch fare.
2. Use technology to search for food coupons
Many stores now offer iPhone apps that alert you to the latest deals. Or, a quick Google search can turn up great coupons for local eateries, grocery stores or wherever you shop.
3. Cook at home as often as possible
Cooking in large batches saves time and helps you shave down costs when putting together meals. If you don't like the idea of eating the same meal night after night, freeze portions you won't use for later in the month. Slow-cooker recipes cut down on prep time while also allowing you to create large batches to feed many people.
4. Look for sales and plan meals
Save time and money by planning meals around sales. Find a grouping of recipes your family likes with common ingredients that can be snatched up during sale periods. Then, create entire month-long meal plans ahead of time.