University of Illinois Extension

Stretching Your Food Dollars

If you're raising school-age grandkids, your grocery bills have probably gotten higher. Growing kids usually have larger appetites. Here are some tips for getting the most from your food dollars.

  • Go shopping as few times as possible. Frequent trips add to family food costs because we tend to buy extras each time.
  • Shop alone if possible. It's hard to say no to the children's favorite foods when they are with you.
  • Take advantage of free or reduced-priced school lunch programs.
  • Use low-cost protein foods like dry beans, eggs, peanut butter, turkey, chicken, and hamburger.
  • Stretch meats by using them in sauces or casseroles. Use slow cooking and marinating to tenderize less expensive cuts.
  • Turn leftovers into planned overs. You can sometimes get two meals for the price of one. Store cooked foods properly to make them last longer.
  • Use nonfat dry milk for cooking instead of whole milk. Dry milk is equally nutritious, and can be less expensive.
  • Shop from a list based on planned menus. Check the food advertisements for good buys. Sometimes, coupons can help you save money.