Let’s face it, we need to eat, and it costs money to eat, usually too much money. In order to free up extra money each month in order to stay out of debt and save for the future you have to draw the line somewhere and reduce expenses any way you can. While cutting the cable cord is one way, for example, that you can save a couple hundred dollars a month, there are ways that you can trim your food budget down every month.
Go Grocery Shopping
Going out to eat is nice to be able to have someone serve you the meals they’re cooking and cleaning up after, but it also costs plenty of money compared to going grocery shopping and preparing meals and snacks at home. Just imagine how much it costs for a loaf of bread, lunch meat, condiments, a bag of chips, and case of soda, how many lunches you can get out of that just for a few dollars. Sure, it’s not the healthiest example, but you can see the difference it makes in how long groceries can last for the cost.
Brew Coffee at Home Before Work
Stopping every morning to get a cup of coffee for a few dollars each doesn’t seem like a lot, but going every work day of the month, plus the weekends and maybe even a few on the way home, you could be looking at $100 a month, if that even includes a few breakfasts. If you can buy a programmable coffee pot for about $25 plus your favorite coffee, you can have it brewed and ready in time to fill up your travel mug as you are about to head out of the house for the work day.
Entertain Friends with Drinks Before Going Out
Sure, it’s fun to go to the bar, but if you spend the whole night there you can easily have a tab of $100 each time. How about cutting the actual bar time shorter and make a late arrival by having a few friends over to drink at your place for a couple hours before you hit the bar. You can stock your house with bottles of wine or liquor for a fraction of the cost of spending money at the bar, and you probably will have friends return the favor of entertaining by buying you drinks at the bar.
Avoid Appetizers and Dessert
It’s hard to avoid going out to eat entirely, so even if you can cut down to once a week that would be a huge improvement. What you can do to cut down on the bill though is to stay away from the three-course meals and avoid the appetizers and getting dessert, or just do a combination of splitting a couple appetizers and a dessert, that way you can skip the entrée, and it can actually be more fun to try different foods. Much like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach is the same with going out to eat, so try not to go in starving or you’ll order everything off the menu and not eat it all.