Are you spending a lot more than you’d like to on your food costs each month? Do you wonder how food could cost so much? Today, I’m going to help you slash those food costs by explaining the easiest way to save money on food.
The Easiest Way to Save Money on Food
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So what is the easiest way to save money on food?
Make your food yourself!
That seems very simple but it can actually be quite a bit more complicated than it seems. Let’s break it down and talk about exactly what it means to make your food yourself and exactly how that will save you money.
Where to start?
Think about how often you are eating out at restaurants or getting take-out food. Just think about the past 2 weeks. How often did you have restaurant/take out food. If you generally use a credit or debit card to pay for purchases (or if you keep receipts) take a look back and add up how much you’ve been spending just on restaurant and take-out foods. It’ll probably be more than you thought!
I know these things are enjoyable and easy, but they’re also much more expensive than foods you make yourself. Now, I’m really not saying that you can never eat out at restaurants or pick up take-out food again. I’m suggesting that we all save those things for special occasions and cut back on their daily presence in our lives.
Related: The Meal Plan Alternative
How to cut back?
A good idea is to cut back on eating out by 50% each week. So if you’re eating out 4 times a week, cut back to 2 times a week. Then, the following week cut back to once. Then, cut back once every other week. This way it’s not a shock to your routine or your family.
It’ll be challenging at first if you’re used to eating out a lot. But once you get into a new routine and make preparing meals at home a new habit, it’ll be much easier.
I know this because it happened it my own life. I used to eat out A LOT. When I first started working a full-time job, I picked up take-out several times a week on my way home. And you know what? I never knew where my money was going! I was wasting so much money on the convenience of having food alreadyprepared. Once I made the change to making the majority of my meals myself, I saved hundreds!
You may be feeling hesitant just thinking about making the switch to preparing your food yourself. And you may have many questions like:
- What if I don’t know how to cook?
- What if I don’t like cooking?
- What if I don’t have time to prepare my own meals?
- What about the social aspect of eating out?
I had many of these questions myself when I made the switch. Truthfully, I was trying to make excuses. I was convincing myself that I was too busy to make my own food everyday, and I truly felt like I didn’t have the skills I’d need. In reality, these excuses were just holding me back. I was actually more than capable of learning what I needed to know and finding the small amount of time that I’d actually need.
But if any of these questions are holding you back, let me address each of these concerns.
If you don’t know how to cook:
- start learning – Pinterest is your friend
- start small – you don’t need to make a gourmet meal, simple can be delicious
- believe you can do it – you won’t get anywhere with a “can’t do” attitude
If you don’t like cooking:
- start small
- make meals in batches so you can get it out of the way
- keep things simple
- stick with what you like
If you don’t have “enough time to cook”:
- prep ahead of time – use a weekend morning or whenever you have time
- prep freezer meals so you have something prepared on hand
- make quick meals – you can find plenty on pinterest
- the crockpot is your friend
If you’re concerned about missing out on friends by not eating out:
- have friends over for dinner, potluck style!
- set aside special times to go out with friends and choose somewhere inexpensive
- find something else to do with friends (go for a hike, watch a movie, etc.)
Related: 5 Tips to Shop Less
Here is a great freezer meal cookbook that can really help you have meals on hand when you don’t have much time to cook.
Here’s the exact Crock Pot that I have. It’s affordable, durable, and such a time saver! I really love it.
I love this Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook for creating those great Crock Pot meals.
A word of Caution
Be careful if you’re thinking about buying prepared foods from the grocery store. These are often more expensive. Look for sales and if you see a great deal, go for it! But, don’t sell yourself short. You may find that you’re better at cooking than you thought you would be. You might even discover that you enjoy it! I do. 🙂
You can do it!
Psst…. Want some more help saving money on food? The Grocery Budget Challenge is starting soon! Sign up here.