If you're hesitant to look at your bank account because you went a little overboard on spending this month, join the club! Since we are only halfway through June, we've compiled a few simple-yet-smart ways to save and make it to next month without going over your food budget.
1. Quit buying cold brew and make it yourself.
If your morning coffee fix is starting to break the bank, make it yourself. Our method gives you strong and smooth cold brew, even better than Starbucks (we'll even show you how to make the sweet cream, if you really need your fix!)
Making your own cold brew at home is as simple as mixing ground coffee with cool water, letting it sit overnight, and carefully straining in batches. The key is letting the coffee soak long enough: Eighteen hours is the ideal amount of time to achieve a perfect, not-too-bitter taste. Plus, this method will cost you way less than an up-charged grande cold brew from Starbucks.
2. Show up late to the farmers market.
The farmers market has a reputation for being on the pricey side (organic heirloom tomatoes will cost you!) but not if you swing by at the right time of day. Take note that many vendors will offer discounts or deals closer to closing time to avoid wasting any excess produce that hasn't sold yet.
3. Embrace the bowl and never waste veggies again.
We all have those bags of salad that seem to be slightly too wilted to eat, or the veggies languishing in the crisper drawer. Think outside their first use and chop, wilt, or sauté them. Even on-their-last-legs salad greens can be quickly sautéed to make the base of a healthy veggie bowl (top with canned beans, the last crushed crumbs in a bag of tortilla chips, and an egg for a Sweetgreen-beating lunch bowl).
We recently compiled a list of Kitchn editors' favorite cheap (but healthy) eats and a big chunk of the suggestions are meals made with inexpensive pantry ingredients that you can eat out of a bowl. Get some wallet-friendly dinner inspiration here.
4. Start your own herb garden.
It's summertime, which means caprese salads, fresh pesto, basil lemonade, and more, but all that fresh basil adds up if you buy those small pouches that wilt super fast at the grocery store. Invest in a personal herb garden. Just one plant of basil will supply you about a half-cup's worth per week. And you don't need a sprawling backyard either — just a sunny windowsill!
5. Download the Ibotta app.
Here's an easy way to save that you might not know about: The Ibotta app helps to streamline the process of earning cash back for shopping at stores you likely already frequent. This includes major grocery retailers like Costco, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Safeway, Sam's Club, Stop & Shop, Target, Trader Joe's, Walmart, and more. Just download the app, choose offers before you shop, upload a photo of your receipt when you're done, and then redeem. You'll get cash back within 48 hours.
6. Eat your freezer.
We are all about the freezer aisle lately. Sales are up for the first time in five years, partly because options like frozen produce are a lot cheaper than their fresh counterparts. You'll get more bang for your buck if you buy frozen spinach (it's more densely packed than a bag of fresh leaves), or frozen berries (which will save you in the long run if you're on a smoothie kick).
And this isn't just about shopping — you probably have a bag of frozen pasta or a few chicken breasts stashed in there. Challenge yourself to clear your freezer before ordering takeout one more time.
7. Sign up for a loyalty card.
You have nothing to lose but everything to gain by signing up for your local grocery store's loyalty card. Don't miss out on store-run promotions and sales just because you haven't gone out of your way to fill out a quick form. Our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, recently saved 20 percent on her last grocery haul thanks to her Giant Eagle loyalty card.
8. Eat down your pantry.
What's in your pantry? Beans and rice are a time-hallowed budget meal, but it's worth exploring what else is lurking in there. Flex your creative muscles and challenge yourself to make dinner with items found exclusively in your pantry. You'd be surprised by how creative you can get with staples like dried lentils, canned beans, jarred sauces, boxes of pasta, pouches of quinoa, and a solid spice rack.
9. Pack a lunch you're excited about.
I'm guilty of dropping way too much cash on pricey lunch options. Try to go one full week of making your own lunch, but make sure it's something you're going to actually want to eat. Here are 20 ideas for make-ahead lunches that last the week.
10. Order takeout for dinner — at lunchtime.
We get it, sometimes you just don't feel like making dinner, but takeout isn't always the cheapest option. To save money for those lazy nights you absolutely have to order in, pick up the lunch special to reheat for dinner. Many restaurants have great deals to increase foot traffic during the day, but to take advantage of those savings come dinnertime, you'll just have to think ahead!
It's halfway through the month — how's your budget looking? Got tips for us for saving money on groceries (or elsewhere!) now and later?