Explore more food options by reducing your current food bill.
As the work-week steadily increases, some of us, frankly, do not have the time to fix elaborate meals, or are on such a budget that we can’t afford anything but the “basics.” Because of this, often we find ourselves in a never ending cycle of frozen pizzas and microwave dinners. Having previously discussed ways to green your life and save money,here are several tips for saving money on your current grocery bill. Who knows, maybe some of that money you saved “greening” up the house could be put towards an expanded grocery list.
Readjust Your Budget
Prior to setting off on your “foodie” adventure, it’s always best to assess how much you’re already spending on a monthly basis. Trying new foods will add items to your grocery list that weren’t there before, so it’s best to cut excessive expenses beforehand.
Stop Eating Out
This includes the morning coffee, fast food runs and delivered foods, as well as lazy take-out nights. Count the number of times you’ve eaten out in a week, and try to cut that in half. If you find that you really could eat at home instead of eating out at all, the more the better. By eating at home you can not only save money, but usually end up with twice the amount of food that you would have normally paid for at the restaurant.
Bring a Bag Lunch
All this extra food can be shared with others (partner, roommate, friend etc) or put in a container for tomorrow’s lunch. By doing this you not only cut down on your food waste, but save extra time and money by not having to find lunch everyday. In addition you can showcase your cooking prowess or cool new “lunch box” to all your coworkers.
Cut Down on Impulse Buys
This means all those chips, cookies and items you could do without. Avoid the checkout line “eye-candy” entirely. Through eliminating these foods your diet not only becomes healthier, but the spared money can be put towards grabbing a few extra fruits and vegetables.
Most grocers regularly hold sales on popular items on a weekly basis. By spending an extra few minutes examining the prices you can shave tens of dollars off your food bill, even if this means buying generic brands.
Closer Doesn’t Mean Better
When heading out to the grocer, don’t be limited to the major chains in your area. Quite often there are discount grocers nearby that sell the same items at a reduced price. Other options are warehouse companies like Costco or Sam’s Club, that sell your basic items in bulk, thus saving you money on both the product and the cost of constantly commuting to the store. Personally, I like to frequent foreign markets where I’m likely to find “exotic” items at a much cheaper price or just gather ideas for a new dish. However, in your quest to find the ultimate deal, don’t forget about your local vendors which, especially when it comes to produce, often have highest quality at the best price. As I mentioned previously, build a rapport with your local vendor to secure better deals!
Don’t Eat Meat Everyday
Meat is usually one of the more costlier items on your receipt, so cutting down on it will allow you to divert money elsewhere. Though if you must have meat, avoid all pre-cut meats as they carry a heavier price tag.
Never fear if you don’t know how to cook already. Preparing food can be one of the most stress reducing activities and the joy of cooking is a very social activity. Cook for others to get a second opinion or recipe suggestions. In addition, learning how to make a few crafty dishes can come in handy later on when trying to impress that special someone.
Published in: Personal Finance