These days, rising food prices have us all wondering how to make ends meet. Even if you have lots of money at the end of your month, you are still probably looking for ways to stretch your dollars?! Right?  

I believe the absolute best way to stretch that food budget and get the most bang for your buck, is to…wait for it…plan. Just like you plan for your money, otherwise known as a budget, you also should plan for what you will eat! 

Hunting for recipes that your family will love, that use ingredients that are not going through the roof, is a very good use of time! If you are stumped for some good recipes that will not break the bank you can visit CountryLiving and find a whole slew of wonderful ideas that are sure to please. 

After you’ve made your selections for meals, you will need to make a list of what you need to purchase at the store. Once you have the list completed, it would be beneficial to check out the store ads to see which stores have the best deals for you. Alternatively, you could check out the ads BEFORE you choose meals so that you can see what is on sale and then plan your meal choices around the sales! 

Don’t spend any extra time zipping across town twice because you overlooked stopping somewhere! Be sure to map out the best route to get to the stores you found to have the best prices! Utilizing higher end stores like Publix, you can still benefit from sale items and of course those amazing BOGO deals! In most cases, you don’t even have to purchase two boxes of Cheerios to get the discount. If you only need one box, then you will get it for half price! Many of these stores also have their own app. Food Lion, for example has an app that is tied to your discount card and you can “clip” virtual coupons and also utilize their buy and save deals to store up discounts for your next trip. You can easily save many dollars shopping this way. And don’t forget shopping discount grocery stores like Aldi, Lidl and Walmart will further stretch your food dollars.  

Planning and comparison shopping could be quite time consuming. There’s time spent deciding what to eat, inventorying your supplies, writing a list of what is needed and finally finding which stores have the best price for the items that you need. The good news is that you will be purchasing what you need and doing it at the best price you could find vs. just buying a bunch of random stuff and spending top dollar. In the end, this process could save you lots of money! 

Don’t let the crazy prices steal your joy! Implement a plan to work around the challenges and use those skills you possess, to the fullest!