In 2013, there were 870 million hungry people worldwide suffering from chronic undernourishment. With global agriculture-devasting droughts and rising food costs though, it’s fair to estimate that number has grown significantly this past year. These factors, among others of course, have contributed to even categorically financially-stable households feeling the pressures of penny-pinching.

The only way we can truly gain any sense of food security again is by educating ourselves and beginning to be more globally-conscious consumers.

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One way to do this is with our grocery bills. Since we could all use a few tips on reducing our grocery costs, this list is meant to save you hundreds a year on your food costs and ensure you can keep eating your awesome environmentally-friendly diet without sacrificing your rent money.

So put away the coupon-clippers momentarily and took a look at these great tips, bound to save hundreds a year on your household food costs!

1. No More Previously-Prepped Foods

Yes, it’s hard to sacrifice the convenience of pre-chopped garlic for bulbs and fancy salad mixes for a simple lettuce. However, you know what’s harder? Realizing you’ve spent the rest of your week’s food budget and still don’t have enough food to feed your entire household with. The conveniences simply have to go. This includes marked-up frozen dinners with little nutritional value, too.

Average Savings: Several dollars per item
Example: Organic Lettuce Leaf: $1.99 or Pre-Chopped Non-Organic Lettuce in a bag: $3.49

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2. No More Canned Beans

First, beans should be a staple for any household trying to cut their food costs without compromising nutrition. They contain great amounts of fibre and longevity-increasing compounds. Plus, they have a great shelf-life. However, paying between $3.00-4.00 for a can of organic beans that yields only 2 cups is like tossing away your hard earned dollars. Plan ahead and pre-soak beans instead of paying for someone else to do it for you. The savings seems small at first, but add up quickly.

Average Savings: Several dollars per item
Example: Canned Organic Black Beans: $2.99 for 2 cups or Dried Organic Black Beans: $1.99 for 8 cups

3. Always, Always go for the Discounts First.

Just yesterday, I saved 50 percent on perfectly ripe apples while others around me passed them without notice. These apples literally look the exact same as the ones being sold for double the cost. This happens every single week. Now, I’ll admit, it’s a hit or miss, but on average I can replace at least one regular-priced item with a discounted one.

Average Savings: Unlimited
Example:Organic Avocados: $2.99 per fruit or Discounted Organic Avocados for $1.99 a fruit

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4. Don’t Make Deals You Don’t Need

It’s great when you can find a BOGO, but these days retailers are feeling the penny-pinches too. So, we’re seeing tons of options trying to get us to spend more and not feel as though we’ve been hustled. Think: Buy two, get the third half-off or receive 10 percent off when spending over x amount. If you really need the third item or were planning to spend over x amount anyways, awesome. If not, consider your budget and needs first before signing up to spend anything more than you were planning. Following this tip will prevent you from spending money you didn’t intend or need to in the first place.

Average Savings: Unlimited

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5. Oh Gosh, the Organics!

Yes, organic food is typically more expensive on average than “conventional” food. The Food and Agriculture Organization states this is because of limited supply and high input costs, among other things. So what are health conscious penny-pinchers to do? Figure out which foods you can’t compromise on for now, following this helpful guide to organics.

Average Savings: Unlimited

6. A Few Dollars to Grow

If you are really serious about chopping your grocery bill down, get gardening! Each year as you grow your seed collection and develop new skills and techniques, you’ll save more and more money. Plus, gardening provides a free source of outdoor (or indoor) exercise and entertainment.

Average Savings: Unlimited

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Example: I’ve already begun saving money on my spring groceries by planting these hardy food crops. Though it does depend on how much space, sun and healthy soil you have to work with, know this: I’ve never spent more on a garden then I’ve gotten in return and I’ve never regretted the time and labor put into it for one second.

7. Do a Meal-By-Meal Cost Breakdown

You can save even more money  if you figure out what your top favorite meals are and how much they are costing you to make. For instance, are you still making recipes that require new ingredients and lots of costly items? Stop! Focus on the basics for now.

My recipe for Spicy Lentil Curry is the perfect example of how inexpensive it really can be to feed a whole household on a budget. Knowing that this entire batch of curry can feed six to eight people and only cost me $4.50 means I’ll be making it often as a frugal favorite!

1. Boil one cup of dried green lentils until tender (about 30 minutes).
2. Strain lentils and add to a pot filled with 4 cups crushed or diced tomatoes. Bring to simmer. Continue until tomatoes thicken.
3. In a frying pan, sautee some onions with a dash of cinnamon and cumin. Add to stock pot.
4. Stir in several tablespoons of yellow curry powder.
5. Adjust spices as necessary: add more curry, cumin, cinnamon or even hot pepper flakes.
6. Serve on rice in bowls.

Good luck with your frugal finds!

Image Source: Red Lentil Soup with  Fresh Cilantro and Lemon