Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Saving money on food adds up quickly and can help in your overall savings objectives at the end of the year.
If you're like most Americans come the weekend or close to it we turn going out to eat into an event. Once you reach that certain age and you have a family it becomes a significant part of one's life and can be a habit. You work hard all week and come the weekend you just want to kick back, have a few, and enjoy a meal without any responsibilities of preparing or cleaning.
And of course, enjoying some good conversation and atmosphere Is all the more reason to make it a regular experience. The problem is when it becomes too regular, and your savings account is just not where it should be. That is a sign that perhaps you go out a little bit too much per the amount of salary you're bringing home. And the dining habit can be a little difficult to pull back on. Perhaps supplement it with a decadent dine home experience.
It is never too late to build your skills in the kitchen and learn new strategies, recipes, and experiment with different ethnic flavors that you may have shied away from before. Learn how to cook food better than the restaurants that you like to go to, and just remember whatever food you cook you can make it specifically the way you like it in every single nuance of the dish.
The next big part of this equation of saving money on food naturally would include shopping for groceries. The notion of cutting your household budget sounds great in theory, however, all the tips require that you make fundamental changes to the way that you have been behaving and it is all predicated on changing the old behavior patterns.
On the average people go to the grocery store 1.6 times a week and spend 43 minutes each time they go, referenced at fivestarhomefoods.comfivestarhomefoods.com. And often we find ourselves thinking about going to the grocery store at the worst time and that's when we're hungry. Which brings us to tip number one.
1. Never go food shopping when you're hungry - Most of us know this but tend to go when we're hungry anyway including myself I am definitely guilty of that. of course, that's when we think about it, however, make a conscious effort to avoid this and you will save money.
So make sure you eat a sandwich or a snack before you hit the grocery store and this will save you good money.
2. Make a grocery list - And to be really honest most of us already do this, however, some of us don't stick to it, Mostly because of tip number one. Make sure you have a snack and then write your grocery list and this practice will save you a good amount of money over the course of a year.
3. Home delivery - A great way for you to shop at the grocery store is not having to go to the grocery store. Place the order on the website and wait for your groceries to arrive. This will give you more than an hour, perhaps even 2 hours that would have been wasted otherwise. And who misses the crowds and traffic associated with many grocery stores. Amazon has a fantastic service called Amazon Prime, above and beyond the entertainment benefits you also get in-store savings at wholefoods and free delivery when it’s convenient. And there is a free 30day trial, what’s not to like about this. The question is, what don’t you get…
4. Buy in bulk - For example, I use mayonnaise for sandwiches, making homemade tartar sauce, homemade Thousand Island dressing, garlic aioli and the list goes on. Also if you like Blue cheese and ranch dressing adding sour cream elevates these dressings and makes it last much longer. For me, Blue cheese dressing out of a bottle is pretty intense, and adding sour cream makes it much more palatable and delicious. If you see split chicken breast on sale, buy as much as you can throw it in the freezer. When I buy mayonnaise I get the larger container and over time it saves you money and time. Consider getting a larger freezer for the garage to store the bulk protein when it’s on sale. Collectively, the amount of time and money you save makes it all worth it at the end of the year.
5. Buy store brands - Store brand products have come a long way since yesteryear. In many cases, they are just as good as name brands and sometimes even better. They are also typically quite a bit less money as well, so if it's not important to you and store brand products are good for you then most certainly try to buy more of them. And this is certainly a case-by-case situation and just speaking from experience you like some products and some you don't.
6. Shopping Clubs - Costco is, in my opinion, the better club out of all 3 of them and bulk shopping for toiletries, paper towels, crackers that you love, pasta, and anything you consume on a regular basis that is not perishable. Or perhaps you are having company and you need to make a salad for twenty-five people, Costco can quickly become your friend.
7. No Convenience Store Shopping - Buy your groceries from your supermarket of choice and the shopping clubs and do not stop at the convenience stores to buy these items if possible.
8. Batch Cooking - On tip four about buying in bulk the example with split chicken breast, What I personally do is Cook four Split chicken breast in a crockpot for 3 and 1/2 hours. Then portion control by putting two of those split chicken breasts in a quart-size ziplock bag or better yet use vacuumed sealed bags found at the best price on where else but, Amazon put one in the freezer and keep one in the refrigerator. I will then use some of that protein in a vegetable stir-fry or make sandwiches. then with the chicken stock, you can make a wonderful squash soup that is extremely healthy and wonderful in flavor. Of course, these are just some ideas of what I do but feel free to experiment with different types of protein, freezing it and then marrying it with some fresh vegetables and stir fry or whatever type of cooking you prefer. Having that protein in the freezer and pulling it out an hour or two before cooking so it can thaw out means that you have protein pretty much ready to go already cooked and portion-controlled.
9. Refrigerator Setup - Often people discover they have items in the fridge that they did not use because they were in the back of the refrigerator. So if you set your refrigerator up with the newest items in the back and the older items in the front it forces you to use those perishable products before it’s too late. And tip number 6 batch cooking we talked about cooking split chicken breast In a crockpot and you can use the chicken stock for vegetables that are a little older than you would prefer and make soup. As they say, “Waste not, want not”. But once again if you use the vacuum-sealed bags it adds many days and even a week to the life of your food.
10. Groceries Apps - There are many apps to help you save money on groceries. One app I find to be very helpful by centralizing coupons is “Flipp”. Flipp has all the weekly ads from local supermarkets posted in one place so you do not have to waste time digging through papers and clipping coupons. So, this app allows you to save time and money, good deal! Whether you use Flipp or if you take advantage of sales directly from the supermarket it’s always good to try to stock up on proteins and freeze the excess. Batch buying is just a smart way to shop. The next grocery app we would recommend trying is Coupon.com, where you can have access to printable coupons, digital coupons, and coupon codes. They also have a mobile app as well. Also below we provide a link to another article called, "The Best Ways for Saving Money on Groceries" that delves into many other ways to save on groceries including a large selection of grocery store apps.
11. Dining Apps - One of the most popular and largest dining apps is restaurant.com. It is a fantastic way to explore new restaurants and save on restaurants that you know and love. This is the nation's largest dining deals site with more than 500,000 deals available every day. Save up to 50% off your final bill and featuring local and independent neighborhood restaurants. The certificates you obtain never expire that's awesome! You can view restaurant details, location, hours, menus, and pictures all from the restaurant.com app. More than 3.5 million verified diner ratings and reviews free and easy online exchange no questions asked. I personally have been using this app for years and has saved a ton of money, you really have nothing to lose.
12. Points or Reward-Based Credit Card - If you are one that pays your bills off quickly then this could be an option for you. Many credit cards give cashback or points on groceries if you can stay disciplined using the credit cards, this is a way to compound those savings along with the grocery and dining apps that we mentioned. In the article, "The Best Grocery Apps used with Credit Cards" we cover all the best credit cards that reward you to shop at the grocery stores and collectively with the apps you are saving a lot of money.
These tips and tools will keep you on track to save quite a bit of money collectively on food costs overall. It's all about developing these habits and staying consistent with them that will ultimately be significant at the end of the year. So stick with it and you got this!