1. Buy foods that can be used in multiple meals.
Versatility of foods can save you in a pinch when you discover that you might be out of a specific ingredient for something you are preparing. Beans, rice, vegetables and meats. Do not be afraid to get creative in your kitchen.
2. Buy in bulk.
This tip is best for those with families to feed more than single folks and couples without kids. Buying in bulk can usually bring down the cost per unit if foods. When on a budget, you might not always be able to buy in bulk, but you should when you can. Even when on a budget, you can always without fail buy dry beans and rice in bulk at pretty cheap prices. Of course, if the items will go bad before you can prepare them, then do not buy in bulk.
3. Start building a pantry.
If posible, reserve part of your food budget to buy one or two semi-expensive pantry items per week or month. Items such as olive oil, soy sauce, and spices. These items when used creatively can totally change flavor profiles of foods you may be getting bored of.
4. Think weekly.
Each week, mix it up by buying different varieties of staple foods like grains and beans. If you have time to shop often, pick up smaller amounts of produce every couple of days to ensure everything is fresh. It is more inspiring to pull crisp greens out of your fridge than to unstick a wilted mess from the bottom of your veggie drawer. If you can not shop as often, buy canned or frozen vegetables.
5. Think seasonally.
During their growing season, fruits and vegetables are generally cheaper and definitely tastier than outside of their season.
6. More vegetables = more flavor.
You can liven up a bowl of rice with summer squash or corn. Vegetables make the best sauces. They are earthy, bright, tart, sweet, bitter, and savory. Give them a priority on your grocery list and you will never be bored.
7. Always buy eggs.
With eggs, you are always only minutes away from a satisfying meal. Scarmble an egg with left overs or drop an egg on top of a salad or a plate of stir fry.
8. Always buy expensive when you can.
Your more expensive eggs will just about always have a better flavor than the cheaper eggs.
9. Do not buy drinks.
All the body needs drink wise is water. Except for milk, most packaged drinks are over priced and deliver a lot of sugar without filling you up. Just a ton of empty calories that will get, or keep you fat.
10. Get creative with wilted vegetables.
Sometimes you might forget a vegetable in the back of the refrigerator, such as spinach, lettuce or peppers. Although they might not be good for a salad, they can still be used in a dish that calls for sauteed, grated or baked vegetables. Cut off any bad areas and use them. You can always use them in a broth.
11. Make your own broth.
In any savory recipe that calls for water, home made broth will always be better. To make broth, start by saving vegetable bits that you chop off and normally would throw away, like onion tops, the seedy parts of peppers, and the ends of carrots. Store them in a freezer bag until you have a few cups, then simmer them in water for a few hours on low heat. Add salt to taste. Add bones if you want an even heartier flavor. Since you are using stuff you might normally throw away, broth is free to make.
12. Buy yogurt in bulk.
There are so many types of yogurt in the grocery store, Skip all the flavored types and buy the larger containers of plain yogurt which you can add your own flavorings to.