When money is tight, there are many areas of spending that people look to cut. They forgo certain purchases that they would normally make. They make a concerted effort to spend less on travel and entertainment. They look to downsize their home or move to a cheaper apartment.

But few people take the time to truly reduce one particularly costly expense: food. Sure, someone on a tight budget will likely eat out less often and rarely buy drinks. Those are important initial steps – but they are also the obvious ones and should not reflect the entirety of your food-related cost cutting. To truly reduce the amount of money you spend on meals, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind:

Search Out Discounts

There are plenty of discounts out there, whether they be food products, programs, or places to shop – you just need to be able to find them. Towards that end, the first step towards finding cutting your food budget is finding a discount grocery chain at which to shop. Then, always keep your eye out for coupons, cheaper products, and discount programs. For example, you might want to consider cash back credit cards that apply to certain grocery retailers. But make sure to do your research; read a American Express or Chase Freedom review before getting any card that may help save you some money.

Look For Products That Offer the Best Nutritional Value

A cheaper product isn’t necessarily a better one if it provides no nutritional value. With this in mind, your best bet is to stock up on those items that are both high in caloric nutrition and exceedingly cheap. These products include pasta, beans, rice, potatoes, and tuna, among several others. By making these your staple foods, you can cut a considerable amount of money from your budget.

Plan Ahead

Many times, when people go to the grocery store, they stock up on what they thing they need – on what they know. Rather than simply making shopping an ad hoc method, then, arriving at the store with a plan for your next week of meals with help you save money. Before going to the store, decide exactly what meals to make for the next two weeks. Then, figure out what food you need to make those meals. When you go shopping, make sure to only buy those foods on your list.

This should give you a good start in cutting some of those food costs and starting to save where it really counts. Even if the budget reductions seem small, remember that food expenses add up quickly – as do savings.

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