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Save Money with Family Mealtimes

Making your own convenience foods will save you a lot of money on your food budget.

Most people can agree that eating at home costs much less than eating out. However, some foods at the grocery store are expensive because they are considered convenience foods. You are paying extra for these foods because you don’t have to do all of the preparations yourself. Making your own convenience foods will save you a lot of money on your food budget.

 

Try these tips:

  • Portion out snack foods so you and your family can grab them and go.
  • Prepackage your own fruits and vegetables as a healthful snack for kids. Children are more likely to eat healthful snacks if they are easy to grab and eat. Also, buying precut fruits and vegetables can cost more than whole fruit. Buy storage bags with portion sizes marked on them for the fruits and veggies, and small plastic dishes with lids for dips and peanut butter.
  • Make your own peanut butter crackers. By buying a box of crackers and a jar of peanut butter, you get more for less money.
  • Prepackage homemade goods. Make mini banana breads for snacks instead of one large loaf.
  • Make your own oatmeal packets. You not only save money, but you can add what you like. To make oatmeal packets, combine quick oats, some brown sugar and cinnamon for sweetener, and dried fruits in snack-size storage bags.
  • Preparing meals ahead of time also can make some of those busy evenings a little less hectic. Making freezer meals has become a popular meal preparation tactic. You do all of your planning, shopping and cooking for a week or longer in one to two days. This is great if you have the time or freezer space.
  • Another tip is to make enough for two meals when you are making dinner, then eat one meal and freeze the other.
  • Try having a freezer meal exchange. You and four friends each can make five dinners and then exchange with each other. That way, you only have to buy ingredients and prepare for one dish but still have five different meals ready to go.

 

Carrie Johnson, Personal and Family Finance Specialist, NDSU

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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