The average person spends between $150 and $300 a month on groceries. On top of this, many people also spend money on takeouts and restaurant meals. This makes food one of the biggest monthly expenses for most people. Food is a necessary expense, but there are dozens of ways to cut your food costs without sacrificing quality. Here are four easy steps to reduce your food costs:

Step 1: Store food correctly

Statistics show that the average American wastes 219 lbs of food each year. Not only is this putting a serious strain on the environment, but it is also a massive waste of money. Storing food correctly is a simple way to extend the shelf life of products and reduce food waste. For example, potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark area but not in the fridge. You should also keep them protected in a paper bag or sack to prevent them from sprouting and rotting. When stored correctly, potatoes can be kept and eaten for up to one month. You should also pay special attention to dairy products and make sure that they are properly sealed and stored to stop them from going bad. Most food items can be safely frozen to extend their shelf life by several weeks or months.

Step 2: Visit your local market

Fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive from the supermarket. You should be able to find a wide selection of fresh produce at your local market for a much cheaper price. Plus, you will have the chance to support local businesses and play a part in reducing the greenhouse gases associated with food transportation. You can save even more money by choosing fruit and vegetables that are in season and locally-sourced. Your local market can also be a great place to get discounts on dairy products and fresh meat.

Step 3: Become coupon-savvy

Using coupons can save you significant amounts of money on your weekly grocery shop. You can search for food coupons online or cut them out of local newspapers and magazines. Many supermarkets also offer loyalty schemes that can give you fantastic discounts on various products when you sign up. You should also keep an eye on supermarket food promotions and base your grocery shopping on the latest deals. Coupons can also be a great way to slash the cost of takeouts and restaurant meals. For example, use Dominos coupons to save money if you decide to treat yourself to a pizza.

Step 4: Write a grocery list

Going food shopping without a grocery list means that you’re likely to spend more money and buy unnecessary items. A far better approach is to plan meals and write a list of the food items you need for the following week. Try to stick with your grocery list and avoid buying things that you don’t need. According to livescience.com, you should also avoid going to the grocery store when you’re hungry as you’ll be more tempted to buy unhealthy food and spend more money.