Even if you are over 65 and refuse to retire, there is a good chance you are among the majority of senior citizens who could use some help getting by comfortably on your retirement budget. Finding ways to cut costs is just smart, anyway. When you live at an Aston Gardens retirement community in Florida, you are in a great environment; but chances are you would welcome a little extra cash, perhaps to give gifts to precious grandchildren or to pack more fun into your life. The following tips are all about the grocery budget and may help. There will be more ideas in this continuing series.
Cut Food Costs
Groceries are among the largest household budget items, especially the way inflation has greatly impacted the cost of food. The following are some great ways to stretch those grocery dollars:
- Prepare a menu plan before going shopping. By getting organized to be sure you have everything you need for the week, you avoid extra trips to the store.
- Make the most of your leftovers, such as freezing them or using them for different recipes. It’s really smart to cook a large meal and then freeze single-serving helpings to be warmed up later for quick meals. You can also, for example, make chicken salad sandwiches with leftover roasted chicken.
- No need to become a vegetarian, but you can slash your grocery bill by cutting back on the amount of meat you include in your recipes. Perhaps have “meatless Mondays.” Among the great substitutes for meat are eggs and beans. Other suggestions for cutting meat costs:
- Buy whole chicken because it is much less expensive than buying pre-cut pieces.
- Ask a butcher for inexpensive beef bones, turkey necks, and chicken feet to be used for homemade broth or to provide slow-cooked dried beans with extra flavor.
- Check the reduced-price section of your grocer’s meat department. When the expiration date on meat is soon to expire, there are often deep discounts. Just be sure to immediately cook or freeze the meat when you get home.
- Keep track of all of the items in your freezer. When you plan your next weekly menu, make plans to use the frozen ingredients you already have.
- Cook value cuts, though it may take longer cooking for meat to be properly tenderized.
- If you want to stick with quality organic meat, perhaps you could use a percentage of the meat you normally use in each recipe, whether half or three-quarters.
- Comparison shop. Surveys have been done which proved that the average family can save up to $5,000 per year if they shop at grocery stores that offer the lowest prices. Even paying slightly higher prices on a regular basis adds up quickly.
- Get creative with the leftovers in your refrigerator. You may be able to put some sparse leftover dishes together to create a complete meal.
- Buying in bulk can mean significant savings. The challenges with bulk buying include making sure you are able to store leftover food safely and being careful to avoid waste.
- Bulk up your dishes with starches such as pasta, rice, and grains. You can turn many side dishes, such as soups, into main courses by adding rice or noodles.
- Take advantage of the many hundreds of frugal recipes that are available for free on the Internet. Cooking with Amy and Cheap Recipe Blog are just two of many frugal cooking websites, and they are complete with simple step-by-step instructions. Trying new recipes is very much like going on a new adventure; so it’s a win-win.
- Make substitutions with less expensive options, whenever possible. Tilapia, for example, is a cheaper type of fish to cook with than tuna or salmon. Ground turkey meat doesn’t cost as much as ground beef.
- Rather than buying grated cheese, buy block cheese and grate it yourself. If you like hummus, it is actually simple to make and requires just a blender and few ingredients. Anytime you make something yourself rather than buying a shortcut version, you can usually cut the cost of your groceries.
- Are you like so many people who have gotten hooked on fancy coffees that come with a high price tag? Why not brew your own coffee? Even if you buy more expensive blends and add fancy coffee cream, it will cost less than paying for it ready-made.
- If buying family packs and buying in bulk doesn’t seem to work for you, perhaps you can buddy up with a friend or neighbor. Time your trips to the shopping center so that you go together, buy discount items, and divide them up when you get home.
There are many ways to cut costs, in addition to lowering your grocery bills. Many of our residents at Aston Gardens retirement communities in Florida seek cost-cutting measures simply to help fund their hobbies and adventures. See this continuing series for more money-saving tips.
Visit Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay today to learn more about our independent senior living, assisted living, and memory care programs, or get in touch by contacting us online or calling us at 813-993-1276!