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Ways to Save Money on Your Food Budget

Let’s face it, spending money on food is a necessary so it’s a good idea to save where you can. By stopping at the gas station for energy drinks and snacks can add up quickly, so why not carefully plan your meals throughout the week with a little meal prep and use the extra savings on entertainment this summer such as concerts, baseball games, or a day trip to your favorite brewery. With a few tips and tweaks, you can easily adjust to a new healthier and cheaper lifestyle.

Avoid Going Out to Eat

While it was more acceptable in the winter to be a little less motivated to cook with the colder weather, not to mention getting dark at 5pm, but now that summer is upon us, not only will avoiding going out to eat save money, but it can also help lose a few pounds.  We know that restaurants look up entrees with unhealthy items, which is why it tastes so good, but cooking at home you can pick and choose the items you want to use. By doing a little meal prep and avoiding spending money going out to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even stopping for coffee every morning, you can save hundreds of dollars per month, which can go a long way to pay down debt, build up your emergency fund, or increase retirement contributions.

Make a Shopping List

When you are ready to head out to the store, be sure to take inventory in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what you need first.  Going to the store without a plan can lead to plenty of extra items in your shopping cart which leads to an increased bill at the register. You’ve probably said to yourself at once time where you went into a store and either forgot an item that you went in the first place, or wondered where what you spent $100 on. You can even arrange your list by section so maybe you can even avoid going down a few aisles where you may be tempted to look past your list.

Fire Up the BBQ

Not everyone is a home cook, or even enjoys cooking for that matter, so why not fire up the barbeque, grab a cold beer, and enjoy a little sunshine while you prepare dinner.  Whether you’re grilling vegetables, chicken, or hamburgers, the up-front cost is pretty low.  You also get that grill flavor that can make just about anything taste even better. Just don’t be afraid to bring out the meat thermometer so you can ensure your grilled chicken breasts some out perfect!

Stick to the Perimeter

When you do go grocery shopping, it’s a good idea to stick to the perimeter of the store, which is typically where all of the fresh and frozen items are. The in between aisles are made up of snacks and other unhealthy items that you can avoid on your shopping trip.  Fresh items can makeup your dinners for the week, and frozen vegetables can fill your freezer for when you need them on hand.

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