Are you struggling to make ends meet? Do you find yourself dependent on emergency loans just to make it until your next payday?
If so, you need to get your budget in order and one of the biggest budget killers is your food budget. You have got to eat, there is no disputing that, but you do not have to waste money on food.
Take a look at some of the biggest ways that people waste money on food. Look at how many you are guilty of and then see how you can save a lot of money by changing your ways.
1) Dining Out Too Often
Everyone loves to go to a restaurant but it is very costly. Even a simple dinner for a family of four at a casual restaurant can top 80 dollars with tip. Do that several times a week and you are wasting nearly 600 dollars a month.
If your budget is not in line and you are coming up short before your next paycheck, you just can not afford this kind of wasted spending.
Limit your outside dining to no more than once a month until you can get things in order. When you do go, avoid the things that unnecessarily inflate a meal like soft drinks and alcohol. Also, consider sharing dishes. Most restaurants serve meals that are way beyond the recommended calorie counts anyways, so splitting a meal will save your wallet and your waste line.
2) Not Making A Grocery List
Just showing up at a grocery store with no plan is a recipe for disaster. What happens is that you typically buy items that will just collect dust in the pantry or, worse yet, spoil and need to be thrown away.
Meal planning is your ticket to saving money at the grocery store. Make a list of all of the meals that you intend to make during the week. Be sure to include all meals and snacks as well.
Next, you make a list of all of the ingredients that you will need. Check the pantry and refrigerator and mark off items that you already have. Then, you can go to the store with a means of buying exactly what you need and nothing more.
Meal planning can save you hundreds of dollars a month by preventing you from buying things that you simply do not need.
3) Shopping In Person
Still do your shopping the old fashioned way? It is costing you big because from the moe=ment that you step into a store, you are being marketed to.
Everything that a grocer does is designed to make you spend more money. Notice how the name brand products are in easy reach while the generics are on the bottom shelf. Look how the end caps are filled with candy, treats and toys within easy rach of children.
If you shop in person, it is nearly impossible to not end up buying something that is not on your list. Luckily, these days, there is an easy solution. Do your shopping online with free curbside pickup.
Nearly every grocery store now allows you to shop online and pick it up without stepping into the store. This makes it much easier to stick with your list. It also saves you a lot of time since you can simply swing by and pick your items up, without even getting out of your vehicle. Hard to beat.
4) Buying Prepared Meals
If you do not know how to cook, you can waste a fortune on prepared foods. An average meal can easily cost twice as much if all that it requires is for you to throw it in the oven.
Cooking is a challenge for some, but it really is a skill that anyone can learn. I myself used to struggle with simply baking a chicken breast and now I can make Chicken Parmigiana from scratch. You just have to take it one step at a time.
Fortunately, you have some of the best cooking instructors at your finger tips and all for free. The internet is a wealth of knowledge and if you can simply follow directions, you can cook. Make better, healthier meals and save a ton of money in the process.
5) Not Reading The Circulars
Every week, one or two days before they go into effect, grocery stores send out a circular. If you are not receiving them, check the grocery store website.
In these circulars you will always have a few items priced incredibly cheap, sometimes at a loss for the store. These items are priced like this to get you into the door. The stores know that if they can get you to come in, you will probably buy more, higher priced items.
Take the sales but skip the extras. When you see an item on sale that you use often, stock up on it. If hamburger is on sale, buy 10 pounds of it and freeze it. The same goes for other items like chicken, steak, canned goods, pasta, etc.
Do not make the mistake of buying something just because it is cheap though. Make sure that it is an item that you use often and will use completely over the next several months.
6) Buying Expensive Ingredients
Good food does not have to be expensive. You can make hundreds of tasty and healthy meals for pennies a serving by sticking to a few basic staples. Things like rice, potatoes and pasta. These items cost virtually nothing and are extremely versatile.
Take these staples and add some spices, some vegetables and some meat sparingly and you can make some great meals for almost nothing.
For ideas, simply tune to the internet. You might be amazed at what you find and at how simple the meals are to make.