Have patience with budgeting
by Leesa from Oregon
As a single parent, I have mastered living on a tight budget. In this article, I hope to share some helpful tips on maximizing food dollars.
First, download apps from your favorite stores. This not only saves you money, but also gives you free items and additional coupons for the foods that you buy.
Second, participate in the "double up food bucks" program, if available in your state. This gives you dollar for dollar on local produce up to $10 when using EBT at multiple farmers markets. Some grocery stores in Oregon match up to $10 per day as well. This is my personal favorite because I can get the quality organic produce that I normally can’t afford.
Third, find your local food pantries and get signed up to obtain free food. This can be extremely helpful, because it helps to save food dollars or EBT. Then you can use the money saved on the healthy foods your body really needs.
Fourth, take the time to browse your local discount grocery stores. I find this fun with my 3 year old. We make it an adventure, because we never know what gems we may find. These discount grocery stores are becoming more popular so there are many that carry a wide range of organic, dairy, and other specialty products. It’s like winning the lottery when you find your faves for next to nothing!
Fifth, meal plan when you can. Now that I meal plan, I don’t run out of EBT or my monthly food budget. I keep things simple. I see what needs to be eaten first to last in my fridge. Then I create the meals that will use these ingredients first to minimize food waste. I’m sure most of us dislike wasting any of the foods we buy.
Sixth, make a grocery shopping list. This is the step that always follows my meal planning. After I see what I currently have, I build my grocery list for the additional ingredients I may need to make complete meals. Before I took the time to write a shopping list, I would just buy what’s on sale. This often left me with lots of great inexpensive ingredients, but overall incomplete meals, which inevitably resulted in unnecessary food waste.
Seventh, don’t overspend. Ever find a great sale on your favorite ingredient, then buy too much? I have and it’s heartbreaking. I’ve easily run myself out of money before the month was over because I “stockpiled” one specific food item. Most stores run the same sales periodically so patience will pay off in the end.
I hope some or all of these suggestions help save you and your family money. Keep in mind, this was a process which took time to learn. Be patient with yourself and your family members, work together as a team, and don’t forget to make it fun! The best part is, if you apply these simple suggestions, you will be teaching your family how to maximize your food dollars.
I’m Leesa, and my magnificent daughter is Vanah. We love local organic foods, adventuring around beautiful Oregon, and most of all, spending time together! Our hobbies include anything artistic, creative, or helping those in need!
Want more ways to save money on healthy food for your family? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Maximizing Food Dollars. Find it on wichealth.org the Meal Planning category!