Summer can wreak havoc on your food budget. The kids are home full time, there are BBQs and events and of course, vacations and food to eat on the road. With a little bit of extra work, you can save your food budget this summer with these easy tips!
How to Save Money on your Summer Food Budget
Barter with others. If you have a specific skill such as photography, offer your skills for trade for someone’s garden harvest. You would be amazed how many people are willing to barter, especially in this economy.
Grow some of your own food. If you live in an apartment or somewhere else that doesn’t really allow for gardening, check to see if your area has a community garden. A community garden allows you to buy a plot or volunteer for one and grow your own food on it. You plant it, care for it and harvest it just like if it was on your own property. Even if you have room for a garden, this can be a great way to expand your growing area.
Take advantage of great coupons and sales in the summer. The summer seems to be a great time when lots of coupons are released for food products. You can usually save big on meat, condiments and canned goods and when you do, make sure you stock up for the summer and into the autumn season.
Look for free lunches for community children. If you are on a really tight budget, you may be able to get your children free lunches at area schools through the Summer Lunch Program which is run by the USDA and local governments. Usually, the lunches are free for any school aged children and often held for a couple hours a day at several locations.
Eat a lot of cold lunches. Things like sandwich meat and bread are fairly low cost and you can do a lot with them from cold sandwiches to hot melts and even rollups and Panini’s.
Make use of leftovers. Dinners from previous nights can provide excellent leftovers for lunches and even breakfasts the next day. For instance, if you have steak one night and have leftovers, make an omelet the next day out of it.
Check out local farms in your area. Often times, before harvest, farmers allow the general public to pre-order a certain amount of pounds of their produce. If this expense is too much for you alone either in volume or in price, go in on it with a friend or two and plan to split it equally among everyone.
Ask around. You might be able to get free food this way. It may seem strange, but if you post an ad on Craigslist or join your local chapter of Freecycle and post a “looking for” ad, you can often get free food. This works best in the summer when people have harvests and may have more yield than they can reasonably use and are looking for people to give it away to.
Prepare. If you are going on a trip, avoid a huge food budget by bringing along things like snacks, cold sandwiches, and drinks in a cooler. This will keep you from having to spend as much along the way and avoid putting your budget in the hole.
Check into Co-ops. Our family participates with the Bountiful Baskets co-op. It’s $15 for a huge box of fruits and veggies! Totally worth it!
Do you have any other tips to add? Leave a comment and let us know!