While knowing the difference between ira vs 401k will really matter to which better caters to your own financial situation, the same goes with your food budget and what you can afford, or better yet, make a few changes to ensure you can free up extra money and put towards more important areas such as building up your emergency fund to give a little financial cushion, paying off and staying out of debt, not to mention saving for retirement, which could be the most important, ensuring you have adequate income to continue to enjoy life experiences when you no longer have the worries of work. While it may take a little discipline, not to mention patience seeing the extra money pile up, you can be proud to save money off of your food expenses every month.
Avoid Going Out to Eat
Probably what will be the hardest sacrifice to make when it comes to trimming down food expenses is going out to eat, especially if you’re not much of a home cook yourself. However, by going grocery shopping and prepping meals at home, you can save hundreds of dollars every month, especially if you’re used to many nights out a week, let alone going out to restaurants which can be pricey compared to even getting carryout. Even limiting to once a week and on special occasions and you can still see plenty of lift.
Make a List
By opting for grocery shopping you can now plan on breakfast to take with you on the road into work, packing your lunch, and dinner, not to mention snacks, and even having your coffee finished brewing and ready for your to-go cup to fill before you walk out of the house. Heading to the grocery store can be overwhelming, so make sure that you do make a list first so you can stick to it while you go up and down each aisle, giving more temptation to load up the cart with unnecessary purchases that would probably inflate your waistline as well.
Never Leave on an Empty Stomach
While not being prepared can lead to unexpected items entering your cart, well if you’ve ever gone to the grocery store, or out shopping in general, being hungry can mean adding whatever looks good at the moment, building up your total when you go through the checkout. If you’re looking for healthy options especially, then it’s even more important to eat at home before your leave for shopping, because when you’re hungry, healthy items aren’t the first on your mind. Avoiding leaving with an empty stomach and you can shop with a clear head and stick to your list.
Know When to Shop
The saying that time is money is especially true when it comes to going shopping on the weekends or even right after work, when the parking lot is packed and the checkout lanes bleed into the aisles. By going when it’s slow, you can keep your sanity and get in and get out in a fraction of the time it would take you otherwise. If you can go during mid-week, after dinner, you should be able to fly up and down the aisles, and even catch an in-store sale or promo that may reward you for shopping during the week while the rest go on the weekends, when there really isn’t an incentive to put items on sale since the store will be packed anyways.
Coupons are Still Key
Sure, the days of getting the Sunday paper and clipping coupons may be over as newspaper subscriptions continue to die off, which is sad, but that doesn’t mean that coupons are a thing of the past either. I’m noticing more and more offers in the mail, not to mention Facebook, and even on the grocery store’s website you can load digital coupons to have come off when you go through the checkout and enter your phone number to pull up your info. The only trick is you need to remember the coupons you loaded, so you might have to print a list.
Earn Money Back
There are so many credit cards offers out there, so why not select the one with the best rewards. By making purchases you can earn points or cashback, which could add up to hundreds of dollars a year, depending how much you spend, that would otherwise have been left unclaimed. Just be careful to charge what you can afford to pay back by the statement due date before interest starts to kick In.