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Summer can be especially hard for families, especially if you have children in school that are now home for all three meals a day plus snacks. In addition, there are BBQs and other events that have food as part of the celebration to join in on. Here are some tips for stretching your food budget this summer:
8 Tips for Stretching your Food Budget This Summer
Use the season to your advantage. Grow some of your own food. While it won’t help much until harvest time, there are a lot of vegetables that harvest in a fairly short time period such as Lettuce, Spinach and other greens.
Skip the Supermarket and hit the Farmer’s Market. If you don’t have much space for gardening, consider making weekly trips to the farmer’s markets in your area. You will probably be surprised how low cost the produce is there as well as being able to get fresh from the farm foods for your table.
Have a plan for BBQ leftovers. Often times, we cook too much meat on the grill when we BBQ, especially at larger events. Have a plan for the leftovers so none of it goes to waste. Chicken can be shredded and added to your crockpot for a variety of dishes and hamburgers can be broken up for a quick seasoning and being tossed into a casserole.
Look into assistance that may be available to you. If you are really having a hard time making ends meet with your budget, you may qualify for summer food programs such as one that gives lunchroom style meals to your kids M-F during the summer for lunch. And, you don’t have to be super low-income to qualify. Also, you may be able to get help by working for your community garden and a volunteer basis and getting to take home some of the harvest.
Make coupons work harder. One of the best seasons to coupon is in the summer! You can really build a stockpile for not only the summer, but also the rest of the year with the plethora of coupons for condiments, vegetables, and even meat.
Make crockpot meals. Not only are they ideal for the heat that hits our homes in the summer by not putting off more heat the way an oven does, but they are often economical as well. You can create so many meals for your crockpot that can be turned into several meals and stretched such as soups, spaghetti sauce and roasts.
Eat in season. This is a good tip for any time of year, but in the summer, it is often easier as many more food are in season in the summer and so your variety to choose from is often much higher. Some foods that are in season most of the summer are peppers, corn, lettuce, garlic, onions, and peas.
Cook on the grill whenever you can. Using your grill is an easy way to save your food budget directly because many of the foods we cook in the oven or on the stovetop can be grilled and indirectly because you are not using electricity to cook with, saving your energy bill.
I hope at least some of these tips help you stretch your grocery dollar for your family!