By Megan Pacheco
After paying our mortgage or rent, food is the close second priority in our monthly budget. Most of us spend anywhere from $150 -$180 every week on groceries – that’s $600 – $720 a month, and it does not include occasional dining out.
Food is not a luxury, it’s a non-negotiable expense we have to incur in order to survive; so don’t feel guilty about spending money on food. But a food budget, unlike our mortgage for example, presents a greater opportunity for flexibility and for cost cutting, if we can learn and apply certain tricks.
There is a way to enjoy delicious food and eat well on a thrifty budget. There is a way to squeeze in occasional dining out without having to break the bank. Would you like to find out how? Here are few tips:
Eat your fruits and veggies… those that are in season!
Every season has its own advantages when it comes to buying fruits and vegetables. Winter months are awesome for loading yourself with cheap vitamin C that comes from oranges, tangerines, grapefruits and lemons. So, instead of spending $5 on a small serving of strawberries, get your fill of seedless tangerines and delicious oranges for a fraction of the cost. Come May – June, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious strawberries and blueberries at a low price.
It’s no secret that Americans struggle with obesity. Part of it may be caused by bad food choices but much of it is simply caused by lack of portion control. Overeating is not only destroying our health and our quality of life, but it’s also impacting our pocket books.
So what can we do to help us curb potions while, at the same time, putting a few dollars back in our wallets?
– Share a plate while dining out. This will instantly provide you with 50% savings, will allow you to still enjoy a nice evening out and will protect you from consuming insane amounts of calories.
– Eating at home? Use smaller plates! Divide your regular dinner serving in two and save half of it for next day lunch! This simple trick will prevent you from spending additional money on lunches!
– Water please! Did you know that Americans spend over $73 Billion on soft drinks each year? That’s over $800 a year per household! Every time you’re about to purchase a drink, other than water, just take that money and set it aside in an envelope. You’ll see that by the end of the year you’ll have a nice sum of money set aside!
Save on dining out!
Did you know that there is a way to NEVER pay full price for a meal? As long as you’re flexible about where you dine out, you can find awesome deals at a fraction of a cost.
Before you go out to eat, check out this web site. Just put in your zip code, and you’ll get a list of deals for your local restaurants. You can get $15 worth of food for just $6.00. You can find $10 gift cards to your local pizza joints for just $4.00! As long as you remain flexible, you can save hundreds over the course of the year. These gift cards make for a great Christmas gifts as well!
This is another good place to find savings on eating out and more. Although the savings are not as deep as with restaurants.com, you may find offers for more popular restaurant chains. Just go to restaurants and you’ll see offers for anywhere from 5% – 18% discounts. Combine that with sharing a plate, and you just found yourself a great deal!
As you can see, saving money on food is possible without having to give up eating out or special treats altogether.
If you have a special money saving trick on food or dining out, we’d love to hear about it!