Because food is a necessity for life, you will always be required to purchase it. This can be discouraging as food prices rise, and as you try to keep your costs down. If you have an already tight budget, rising food prices can present an especial challenge. Here are 3 tips for saving money on food:

1. Grow Your Own

One of the easiest ways to save money on food is to grow your own. You can make a kitchen garden and grow foods that you normally use in your cuisine. My garden has tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, various herbs, and different squashes. Some of your extra items can be canned or bottled to be used during the winter, and I dry some of my herbs for use throughout the year. Even if you don’t have room for a bigger garden, it is possible to grow some foods in containers, helping to reduce some of your food costs. A garden will provide you with healthy and affordable meal options.

2. Buy in Bulk and On Sale

Another way to reduce your food costs is to buy in bulk and on sale. When something is on sale, buy extras of it. You don’t need a huge stockpile, but you can benefit from having a few extras. We buy chicken when it’s on sale, and freeze what we won’t eat that week. We also like to buy canned and frozen vegetables and other items during the semi-annual case lot sale held at the local grocery store. Plan your shopping around seasonal sale cycles, and you can save money over time.

It’s also possible to can, freeze or bottle what you buy at the store. I know someone who purchases large amounts of corn (no room to grow it) when it’s on sale during the summer. She removes the husks, and then cuts of the kernels. Then, she bottles or freezes it for the winter.

3. Have a Plan

Before we had a meal plan, a lot of our money was wasted, since we would buy food that sometimes spoiled before we ate it. Now, we look at what’s on sale, and plan our meals around those items. We make a list, and buy what’s on the list. Now, all the food gets eaten and we are no longer essentially throwing money away. Creating a plan can be a good way to make sure you are buying what’s on sale, and sticking to your list can prevent the impulse shopping that can drain your wealth.