ENTER TODAY: Win a Presto 8-Qt Traveling Slow Cooker! →

We all want to save a little money here and there, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. One area most of us are spending more than we need to is the food budget. Sure, clipping coupons and keeping an eye on the sales can help, but there’s more we can do. During the Great Depression, saving money on food was an absolute necessity. But, adversity breeds innovation, as they say. Here are a few tips from the Depression Era that can really come in handy when trying to save money!

Fill Meat Recipes With Beans

Not only are beans super inexpensive, but they are also a great source of protein. Not to mention that beans add a wonderful texture and flavor to any meal! If you’re looking to make your food budget stretch, there’s no better way than to find alternatives to expensive meat products. Even if you’re not ready to fully replace meat with beans you can make your meat last twice as long if you get creative and substitute part of the meat for beans. You might be surprised at how much you like it!

Use Up Food Scraps

This might seem like a no-brainer, but some studies show that Americans throw away up to 35% of their food! Luckily, there are truly so many ways to use up food scraps. Veggie and fruit scraps are perfect to use in soups and smoothies, while citrus peels can be marinated in vinegar for an all-natural cleaner! Any food scraps that can’t be eaten or used up can be thrown into the compost bin, which brings us to our next tip…

Grow Your Own Food

You don’t have to have sprawling gardens and acres of land to grow your own food – although, by all means, if you have those things, use them! There are many things you can grow out of pots right in your own home. Think herbs, spices, veggies, and even some fruit in the right conditions. A lot of produce can regrow if you know how to do it right. For example, romaine lettuce totally regrows just by leaving the leftover stump in water! Check out some other produce items that regrow easily in this video.

Buy Bone-In Meats

A lot of people opt for the boneless option when it comes to meats, but that’s actually a huge mistake! Not only are bone-in meats less expensive than boneless, but any good chef will tell you they taste better and are far juicier. This goes for chicken too – instead of paying $3 a pound for boneless, skinless chicken, get the whole bird for $5! Plus, you can make some excellent broths with the bones once you’ve licked them clean!

Can Your Own Food

Canning was a way of life for those living during the Depression Era. Everything was canned – from produce to meat. There are so many options for preserving food, and you often can find great deals on fruit that is in season from a local farm. Once you have your bushel of fruit, get to work canning and making jams! When winter comes, you’ll still have plenty of options without running out to the store.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes