SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Busy families can get help from the United States Department of Agriculture, which has tips for stretching your food budget and eating well when money is limited.
Buy in season: Sticking to fruits and vegetables that are in season can lower the cost and add to the freshness.
Go back to basics: Convenience foods like pre-cut fruits and vegetables and take-out meals often cost more.
Meal prep: Make a large batch of favorite recipes and freeze in individual containers. If you use them throughout the week, you can avoid spending on take-out meals.
Find deals right under your nose: That may include peel-off coupons on items, signs on aisle shelves, or coupons with your receipt.
Search for coupons: Don’t overlook your junk mail! Many stores still mail coupons and ads, or you can find them online.
Look for savings in the newspaper: Brand-name coupons are found in paper inserts every Sunday. Some stores offer double value on coupons on some days of the week.
Join your store’s loyalty program: You can receive savings and electronic coupons when you provide an email address
Find out if your store will match a competitor’s coupon: Many stores will accept coupons for the same item.
Get a coupon buddy: Swap coupons you won’t use with a friend.
Stay organized: Sort your coupons so they’re easy to find.
The USDA has sample two-week menus, recipes and a shopping list that can be used by anyone wanting a healthy diet at a modest price. The USDA created recipes using basic kitchen equipment and made lunches designed to be packable so they can be taken to work or school.