Looking for ways to save money in order to make ends meet is always a challenge; especially when you live on a tight budget. When you keep a close eye on how much you spend to feed yourself and your family, this will go a long way in helping you to save. Sticking to a limited budget can be impossible if you dine out, especially now with the high cost of groceries and expensive meals. But if you’re willing to do a little legwork and stick to a plan, you can survive on a small food budget. Read on to find out how.

Plan your meals
Both money and time will be saved when you plan your meals. You will not need or be tempted to run through a drive-thru or stop by the grocery store to pick up dinner on the way home if you know exactly what you are going to eat for the day. Impulse buying is a killer when you are living on a limited budget. Planning your meals helps to eliminate the guesswork out what you’ll eat and will help you stay on track.

Focusing on the staples is one of the best ways to keep the cost down when planning meals. Some basic and low cost ingredients can be used in a variety of different ways. Staples include foods such as eggs, rice, beans, pasta, oatmeal, chicken, and potatoes can be used in many recipes. Peanut butter and canned goods can help keep your spending down. Many of these items will stay good on your shelves for a while, so they can be purchased in larger quantities. This can help you to save a little more at the store. Fresh fruit and vegetables that are on sale are also great meal additions that can add a little variety to what you are eating at a lower cost.
Take stock of the ingredients that you have on hand when you plan your meals. Make a list and purchase only those items at the grocery store if you need to buy anything.

Discount stores and coupons
After pulling the whole list together, endeavor to shop at discount grocery stores so you can save money for yourself. Keep a close watch on weekly ads from the grocery stores nearest to you. You can pick up good deals even at traditional higher priced stores. Coupons are another way to go. Since you already know what you are planning on buying, check out weekly store ads and online websites to see if they offer coupons for anything on your list.

Visit a Food Pantry
A great way to keep your spending down is a food pantry. Foods are distributed by food pantries to people who are in need. You may qualify for food pantry if you are already receiving some form of government assistance or are on unemployment. Visit Feeding America to find a local food bank near you. Local churches or other non-profit organizations may also offer donated food or other assistance to families in need. If you do qualify for these services, use them. Even if it only saves you a few dollars every week, it adds up over time.

Cook in bulk
You will be able to feed yourself and your family when you make a large meal that has multiple servings. Freeze the meal and only heat up the portion that you want to serve. Not only will this save you preparation time, but cooking larger quantities will also save you money in the long run.

Drink water
Your budget can be eaten up if you keep getting beverages. Try as much as you can to invest in a water filter and drink water from the tap. What cost less and it is much healthier. Go with a reusable water bottle if you like to take water when you are out.

Stay away from restaurants
Small food budget can be wrecked with the convenience of a fast-food restaurant. Food in restaurants costs you more and usually they are of little quality. Visit restaurants during special occasions and especially when specials are offered.
If you are feeding a family, it is always difficult to stick to a food budget. If you are willing to invest your time and energy into planning meals, looking for good deals, and searching for services that may be available to you, you can feed your family on a small food budget.