Here are some ways our family saves on eating...*We rarely eat out (and when we do...no alcohol, appetizers, or desserts (unless there are coupons, special deals, etc. involved)). We also like to hit places that have 'Kids eat free nights' and we share meals a lot.
I find that even when we feel pinched for time...I can make an easy meal in 10-20mins...so heading to a drive-thru does not save much time and definitely doesn't save money or our health.
*We do not buy a lot of processed or 'easy-to-prepare' foods (with the exception of Kraft mac and cheese and nutrigrain bars). I cook...every day.
*We eat a lot of eggs, oatmeal, and pancakes for breakfast. Cereal is really expensive...eggs, flour, and milk are not.
*We drink a lot of tap water.
*I buy items on sale (as opposed to when I need them). When ground sirloin is on sale...I stock up and freeze. Mac and cheese goes on sale at least once/month so does applesauce and nutrigrain bars.
*I buy a lot of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables (especially out of season stuff). It is packed at the peak of picking and freshness. And it doesn't go bad it you forget about it (we end of throwing a lot of fresh produce away because people forget about it).
*Take as few people to the store with you as possible. The more people, especially little and/or hungry people, the more likely you will impulse buy.
*I plan...and plan...and plan some more. I read the store ads before I head out, I plan several meals before I make my shopping list. I ALWAYS make a list. I take about 30-60mins per week planning meals and shopping lists. And I shop about every 10-14 days (with the exception of the mid-trip milk and banana run).
What are your food budget tips? Please share.