Many people find themselves repeatedly shocked by the price of their groceries at the checkout line. The price of food seems to go up every week and most people feel like there’s little they can do about it but cut corners in other places. There are, however, many frugal eating habits you can build that will save you a ton of money on food, whether it’s on groceries or eating out. Follow these frugal eating tips to start saving this week.
Set down ground rules on eating out
You don’t have to totally deprive yourself of the luxury of eating out to save money. But there are many ways you can cut back on spending. Start tracking your spending by using a budgeting app, by checking your bank account, or just by using a pad of paper. Keep track of every quick stop for a sandwich, every trip to a fast food restaurant, and even every coffee you buy during the week. Many people are shocked to find that they spend up to $100 a month just on their daily caffeinated beverages.
Now that you know the damage you’ll be more motivated to make a change. Switch to making your own coffee. Buy yourself a nice travel mug and make it your best friend.
When it comes to dining out at restaurants, make them special occasions. Decide with your significant other on two or three days of the month (every other Saturday maybe) when you’ll go on a date night together. If you’re flying solo, treat yourself to the same two nights out, whether it’s just you or you’re with friends.
Save on groceries
There are a number of ways to spend less at the checkout line that won’t require you to eat any less or sacrifice nutrition. In fact, many of these tips will actually be healthier for you depending on your own eating habits and nutritional needs.
- Buy in bulk. Certain staple items are much less expensive when bought in bulk. Rice and dried beans come in huge bags that will last months and there are an unlimited number of recipes you can make with these two items. Other great items to buy in bulk: frozen vegetables, pasta, cereal, oatmeal, toilet paper, and trash bags.
- Cut back on meat. Americans eat a lot of meat. It isn’t uncommon for some families to have meat every night of the week. If that’s the case for you, try having one meat-free meal day. That alone will save you up to $15 per month. Vegetarian and vegan food options are endless and delicious, so you might soon find yourself spending less and less on meat at the grocery store.
- Cook your lunches in advance. Rather than starving at lunch or suffering the same peanut putter sandwiches every day, make all of your lunches for the week on Sunday afternoon. There are a ton of bulk lunch recipes around the internet. Some suggestions: burritos, personal pizzas, crock pot meals, and stir-fry recipes are all easy to package for the week and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Make a menu and a shopping list. Most people jot down a few things they need and then choose other items at random at the grocery store. Instead, make a menu for the week and buy only what you need.
- Research frugal recipes. There are several books and websites devoted to frugal recipe ideas. How frugal? Some recipes are filling, nutritious, and cost as little as $1.00 per person to make.