It’s no secret that more and more of us are eating at home. AllRecipes.com, the #1 food site, recently posted its largest traffic month ever in November with 10.7 million people visiting the site in search of recipes.
The popular food site also found that 80 percent of participants in a recent survey said they’d be cooking at home more in 2009. Meanwhile, 59 percent expect to increase their coupon use in 2009, up from a 55 percent increase in 2008.
To help you save money on your at-home family meals, here are seven easy moves to make to keep money in your pocket this week.
1) Make a meal plan. The easiest way to save money is to plan your meals for each night of the week. When you know what to make at 5 p.m. (and you know you have all the ingredients!) it’s a lot less tempting to order a pizza.
2) Plan weekly menus around what’s on sale. Before you write up your weekly meal plan read through the grocery ads to see what’s on sale. Quick tip: visit Recipe Matcher, enter the on-sale foods and ingredients you have on hand to instantly generate recipes.
3) Choose recipes with a low price per serving. Build meals around less expensive meats like split chicken breasts, pork chops and stew meat. Check out $5 Dinners for meals that can be made for $5 or less (for a family of four), such as Chili Cornbread Cups and Chicken Noodle Soup.
4) Use coupons for your entire meal. Seek out coupons for every component of your meals, like Meal Deal coupons on Shortcuts.com. In one click you can load your store loyalty card with coupons for turkey breast, frozen vegetables, potatoes, crescent rolls, stuffing and holiday cookies. These coupons get scanned and redeemed at check-out.
5) Go vegetarian once a week. Save extra cash by going meatless once a week. Good choices include spaghetti, chili or even omelettes.
6) Opt for frozen foods. Don’t reach for frozen convenience foods, like TV dinners, but rather frozen vegetables and chicken that can be whipped up into a meal. Frozen side dishes, like potatoes, are another easy way to go to save money.
7) Be smart about private label items. In many cases you can save by opting for the private label over a brand name, but by being smart about coupons, you can often get the brand name for less than the private label. Here’s a post I did recently at Blissfully Domestic called Confessions of a Name Brand Shopper on how I save big by not buying private label at all.
How do you save by eating at home? I’d love to hear your tips and advice.