Recently, I was working with a family on budgeting, and when I asked them how much they spent a month eating out, they answered, “about $200.” The next month, I had them write down everything they spent, and they were shocked to discover they actually spent $600 a month eating out! Those daily trips to Starbucks and drive-thru lunches really do add up!
You don’t have to stop eating out or become an extreme couponer to cut your food costs. I’ve come up with 19 ways to cut food costs, and I’m sure you’ll find a few that will fit your lifestyle.
- Always plan meals, make a list and try to grocery shop once a week.
- Buy store brands, this alone will cut your grocery bill by 25%!
- Use TheGroceryGame.com to maximize your savings. The Grocery Game helps you combine coupons with sales for huge savings and even a few free items each week. You will save at least $50 a week!
- Shop Costco or Sam’s for staples like milk, eggs, butter, cheese and sugar. This is where the real savings are. Check out the results of my field trip to Costco and Sam’s.
- Stop buying bottled water! A case of bottled water is about $5 per week, $20 a month and $240 a year! Try a refillable bottle instead.
- Buy seasonal produce for best taste and savings.
- Did you know that Kroger sells rotisserie chickens for half price after 7:30? Stock up, chop up and freeze!
- Meijer sells all pre-sliced deli lunchmeat for half price after 8:30, see if your local grocery has a similar offer.
- Check your local bagel and donut shops, you can likely pick up a bargain after a certain time of the day! Our bagel shop sells 1 dozen for $5 after 2:00, and I’ve heard that Krispy Kreme sells a dozen donuts (the ones in the case) for $1 after midnight…that gives new meaning to a midnight snack!
- Don’t miss the clearance section and managers specials in the grocery…the markdowns are amazing!
- Get in the habit of cooking from scratch. Packaged, prepared food is convenient, but you’re paying a big price!
- Eat out for less with deals from Restaurant.com, Groupon or discounted gift cards from PlasticJungle.com.
- Discover all the Kids Eat Free offers.
- Eat free on your birthday with a $30 gift certificate from Benihana’s! Check out the over 100 birthday freebies. Many of these offers not only send you a free coupon on your birthday, but will also send you a coupon the very day you sign up for the club AND at every one year anniversary of you signing up. Throw in all the free coupons they send around your birthday and you can get multiple meals a year for free because most offers do not require that you use them on your birthday.
- Are you taking advantage of Report Card Freebies for free food?
- Eat in, not out! Those everyday trips to the drive-thru quickly add up – $7 a day for lunch = $35 a week, $140 a month, $1820 a year! Could you brown bag it to work a few days?
- Make your own Starbucks and save about $3 a day, $21 a week, $84 a month, $1008 a year!
- Try this rule when eating out…only order water.
- Plant a garden and enjoy seasonal produce for a fraction of the cost.
- Learn to can fruits and veggies!