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How You Can Save on Your Food Budget

When it comes to the household finances, it’s no wonder that there is not a whole lot of extra cash leftover by the time you pay bills, not to mention food, gas, and whatever amount of spending money that you can manage to gather up.  In order to free up extra money so you build an emergency fund, pay down debt, and save for retirement, your monthly expenses will need to be reduced, and that can come anywhere from cancelling the cable bill, making your home more energy efficient so the furnace/air conditioner runs less, but a large part of your what you’re spending each month, reducing the food expense.  While maybe we could afford to lose a few pounds, but since we can’t eliminate this necessary expense, then we need to change how we’re approaching this cost.

Avoid Going Out to Eat

Sure, this may not be the easiest option to takeover your lifestyle, but if you actually add up how much you are spending each month by going out to eat, anywhere from breakfast, grabbing lunch at work, picking up carryout, or taking the family out to dinner.  If you take a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can add up all the charges, of which they will likely shock you.  While it may be out of the question to eliminate completely, maybe limiting to once a week and on special occasions could be more doable, while will watching the savings add up.

Meal Prep at Home

So now that you are avoiding the easy route by eating at your favorite restaurant and having someone else cook, serve, and cleanup after you, what do you do now?  Well, if you’re not much of a home cook, then unfortunately that means a little meal prep at home.  While sure, you don’t have to prepare a homemade three course meal every day, but even purchasing the basic ingredients such as rice, noodles, frozen vegetables, there can always be an easy side to whatever you are preparing.

Never Leave Without a List

Going from a restaurant to your own kitchen can be a big adjustment, but to really make sure you are eating at home, you need to keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with the items can take care of the meals and snacks you will now save money on by getting at the grocery store instead of eating out.  When you do leave your house to head to the grocery store, make sure you have a list of every item you need, that way you can follow along in the store without too many impulse purchases making their way into your cart.

Don’t Forget the Coupons

The days of sitting down with the Sunday paper may continue to be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean that coupons are dying as well.  In fact, there are just new ways to distribute them to you, so you probably have actually seen more of a circulation of coupons in the mail, probably every day.  There has also been a rise in digital coupons, which you can go to your grocer’s website and load directly onto your shopper’s reward card to come off at the register, provided you can remember which coupons you loaded.

Shop During the Week Instead

While you may get lucky and find a few extra sales during the week when stores want the extra business, compared to the weekend when the stores are packed morning until evening, it’s actually during the week that you can save time, after all, time is money.  If you can go grocery shopping after dinner, mid-week, you can zip up and down the aisles without probably even seeing another person, not to mention no long wait at the register.  For your sanity of the stress-free shopping, plus maybe you could use a break out of the house during the week, grocery shopping may be the way to go.

Try Not to Go on an Empty Stomach

Impulse purchases are probably the biggest reason for overspending when it comes to not only grocery shopping, but in general.  One of the ways you can curb this, particularly when you are grocery shopping is to eat before you leave the house, that way you can avoid shopping while you’re hungry and you can resist putting items in your cart that sound good at the time, especially if there are free samples involved.  Once your hunger goes away, those items you wasted money on will look less appealing.

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