26 Foods to Cut Out of Your Food Budget If You're Saving for a Big Purchase
You want the big-screen TV in time for the next Super Bowl, or are saving for the down payment on a new car. The trade-off is that you'll eat burgers instead of premium steaks on the grill this summer. Cutting back on a food budget can be painless once you realize you don't really need Champagne, infused oils, coffeehouse drinks, name-brand sodas, and more. A bit of creativity — and keeping a goal in sight — can go a long way.
Even basic grocery stores carry premium ice cream and gelato, and it's fun to look at the exotic flavors and imagine the creamy goodness. But check the price: Typically more than $5 a pint. Mass-market ice creams can taste just as good, especially buried in some inexpensive toppings.
If you're creating a cheese board, then yes, you want to show off a diverse selection of premium cheeses. But when it's something to slap on a sandwich, stick to the basics. You can forgo the aged Parmesan or smoked Gouda in favor of slices of basic American, cheddar or Swiss. (Trader Joe's can also help build a cheese board that seems gourmet, but at reasonable prices.)
Peanut butter has competition. Now you can have almond butter, cashew butter and many more, and the more unusual options often carry a bigger price tag. The more affordable, basic peanut butter may be the way to go, especially if options such as a light or low-sodium spread is wanted.
When not on sale, premium lump crab can set you back quite a bit — a recent grocery check-in showed lump crab at nearly $25 a pound. Instead, go with the faux, as in canned or surimi, a paste made from fish that's sold refrigerated in sticks or flakes. In a pinch, it makes a tasty substitute in a refreshing crab salad.
A jar of imported Greek olives can give you sticker shock. Unless needed for a very specific recipe or a cocktail party to impress the boss, pass on garlic- or blue cheese-stuffed olives in favor of basic green and black.
If you're a corn flakes kind of family, stick to what you know. Cereal's pricey as it is, so don't suddenly start trying all kinds of elaborate granolas, which often feature expensive ingredients such as nuts and dried fruits. If you must have it, try making your own, such as Saving The Crumbs' promisingly named Easiest Cheapest Granola Recipe Ever.
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