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Families need to stay healthy; this is important for them mainly because we love them. We all know that sickness is not an easy or pleasant experience. The cost of medical attention is so very high and over use of many antibiotics has caused them to be non-effective in many cases. One way we can stay healthier is by eating better. Sometimes that means spending less money on food and buying things that, although less convenient, are cheaper and more nutritious.

Planning is a practical way to begin to save. Meals should be planned at least one week in advance. When sales on groceries are advertised in your local newspaper check them out and make a list taking advantage of the lower prices. Plan your menus around what is on sale for the current week. It will help to plan one meal, during that time, which is meatless. You will need to substitute a cheese dish, or some item to replace the protein in meat. This will save on at least one expensive meat purchase.

Hamburger can be stretched by adding oatmeal or bread crumbs. This takes nothing away from the flavor and in fact, I have noticed it makes a more “tender” tasting dish. Adding a small amount of powdered milk to the meat also tenderizes it.

The milk you use to cook with can be made to last longer by adding powdered milk. I have found that this works well with cooking, but my family “notices” the difference when it is added to the milk they drink.

If you want extra conveniences then spend extra time preparing them yourself, you will save money! For example prepare in advance and freeze your own sauces, stews and even pastries. By buying in larger amounts for freezing, you can usually save.

We need to learn to waste less, put only the amount of food on our plates that we will eat. Teach your children this good habit. When food is left don’t throw it away, place it in airtight sealed containers, and refrigerate. You may use it safely again if not left more than 24 hours and some food is even better the second time around!

You may have to look a bit harder for store brands, because I know the name brands have their special place on the shelves, however persevere and find the store brands. Often they are just as tasty and are less expensive. We can’t eat the “brand” or labels so why pay more?

Avoid shopping for groceries too often try to make a weekly trip. Along with wear and tear on your vehicle, you will save gas also. When the week is almost up you will “hunt” for something to fix and may use the food setting on your shelf ignored for too long.

I have used up a lot of money too quickly by shopping when I am hungry. Everything looks good! In addition, the tendency to overspend is directed by the “growling” of your empty stomach. If possible shop by yourself. Your little munchkin may help you to decide to buy un-needed items. If you must take them with you then “be determined” not to overspend.

Take your calculator with you, stop and figure what you are buying compare price by unit, pound, ounce, or dozen you may be surprised that you were not getting as much as you “assumed” you were buying. It takes a little more time, but in the long run, you will find it worth your while.

Avoid the expensive “junk food isle.” Yes I know it is so tempting, tasty, and convenient, but just picture the dollar bills leaving your billfold and the fat leaping on your hips.

If you think in terms of fresh fruits, vegetables basic cookies, and perhaps popcorn instead of high priced convenience foods, you are on the right track. Set your goals and stick to them, you will begin to notice a more healthy energetic family, and maybe, just maybe… you will have saved enough to have a little fun with them!