How can you spend less money on groceries when you love food?
Take it from me, a food writer, it's something I've had to work on. I started to write about food because I don’t just love to eat, I love eating well. I’m also an avid home cook who will attempt to make everything from scratch using the highest quality ingredients I can find.
When I’m grocery shopping, I often find myself easily enticed by whatever is fresh, in-season or just delicious sounding that day. It could be a cluster of fresh king crab claws. Or a bundle of just-in-from-Europe white asparagus. And who can pass up a beautifully marbled ribeye?
These grocery store indulgences do add up. I didn’t realize how much I was spending until I looked up the monthly at-home food expenditure for a family of two. As of May 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated this to be $405.30 for those who are thrifty and $805.70 for those who spend liberally. My spending surpassed these numbers by as much as 50%.
Clearly, I needed to curb my grocery spending. But how could I achieve this while still catering to my inner gourmand? Thankfully, I also have a healthy appetite for research. So, I tapped three experts in the food world — globetrotting chef Michael Mina, cookbook author Andrea Nguyen and nutritionist Jill Nussinow — for practical advice on how to eat well and still stick to a budget.
With their help, I've pulled together nine simple strategies for saving money on food — from buying in bulk, to pickling and freezing, to tapping your local butcher or fishmonger for the freshest sale items — that will help you shop smarter and more economically without skimping on quality.