Eat for Less



Food is one area
in the budget
where families can save the most money.

  • Coupons. Coupons are for name-brand items, which are more expensive than off-brands.
  • Convenience Foods. This food generally costs twice as much as the same thing made from scratch.
  • Bulk Food. The bulk bin section of grocery stores is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than food purchased in expensive packaging.

What You Can Do
  • Cook from Scratch.
    • Restaurants cost 6 to 10 times more than cooking from scratch.
    • Frozen meals cost 4 times more than home-cooked meals.
    • Prepackaged mixes are 3 times more than scratch.
    • Pre-cut foods cost twice as much as doing your own slicing.
    • Baking from scratch takes about the same amount of time as using baking mixes.
    • Snacks such as homemade cookies and popcorn save money.
  • Calculators. Use a small calculator to help figure out an item's price per unit. Even if something is on sale, the sale is not always the least expensive alternative.
  • Plan Family Dinners. Begin with the items a store has on sale that week. Those sale items are advertised in the newspaper and are also available online. Many different meals can be made from one item; such as a chuck roast being used in pot roast, beef stew, chili, tacos, beef stroganoff, and fajitas. Planning dinners helps in buying food you are going to eat that week, planning to have and eat leftovers, reducing waste and impulse-buying.
  • Shop with a List. Surveys show that people who shop with a list are more efficient, save time and make fewer impulse purchases. Shoppers spend an average of $20 on impulse every time they go to a store; so, reduce your shopping trips to once a week.
  • Children benefit when they help plan menus and take turns cooking one meal a week.
  • Purchase local food from farmers or farmers' markets. Local food is usually fresher, tastes better, is cheaper, and supports the local economy (than food trucked or flown in from thousands of miles away.)
  • Raise a garden a great family activity.
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)

Federal program (formerly Welfare) designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency.
80,000 people in Washington receive TANF, including 55,000 children (2015)
(202) 401-9275 (Help for Families)
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/programs/tanf