Eating like a king is not about increasing your food budget, but about making the best use out of your current budget. Like always, what that means to you is finding ways to save money. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to save on food.
Sign Up For E-Clubs
The restaurant business is a very competitive one, especially among the big chain restaurants. That is why most of them will have email clubs that you can and should take advantage of. Simply visit the company website and look for a link, usually at the bottom of the page.
Sign up for as many of these clubs as you can and be sure to do so in advance of a restaurant visit. Most will wait at least 24 hours to start sending out discounts, so you will not be able to get one for tonight’s dinner.
But what kind of savings can you expect? This will be in direct proportion to how well a restaurant is doing. If it is a popular place to eat, you should not expect much more than a free appetizer from time to time. If the restaurant is struggling, they will offer far better deals such as buy one get one free coupons or large percentages off a meal.
In any case, every dollar that you save makes the effort well worth it. And, since the effort is simply signing up for a discount club, you should make the time.
Learn To Cook
If you want to eat like a king, the absolute best way is to learn to cook like the king’s staff. Once you learn how to cook, you can take the money you would have spent on just one persons dinner and cook a gourmet meal for the entire family. The trick is to buy good ingredients and to improve your skill set through usage. Here are some tips to get you started.
Start with an easy recipe.
You have to crawl before you can walk, so make an easy meal first. Search the internet for some of your favorite foods and learn how to make the simple ones. Start with forgiving foods like chicken before you advance to more complicated entrees like fish.
Buy a good knife, some pots and pans.
Your cooking gear is an investment, so consider the money spent as the key to a lifetime of savings and food enjoyment. Above all else, you should have a couple of good knives and some nice non stick skillets. Don’t go crazy, just a few items will do and you can add to your collection as the need arises.
Learn the basics of the kitchen.
Practice basic skills like chopping, slicing and taking precise measurements. These are the basics that master chefs had to master and you should too.
Learn to shop for ingredients.
Not all ingredients are the same, and you get what you pay for. Half of your success in the kitchen will come from being able to pick a ripe vegetable or recognizing the best marbling in a piece of meat.
This is again an area where your search engine is your friend, so take the time to learn online.
Practice makes perfect.
It will take time to master your cooking skills, so stick with it and you will notice the quality of your meals improving every time. As you master one meal, move on to a more complicated one. Before you know it, your kitchen will resemble the set of Master Chef.
Shop The Specials
This goes hand in hand with learning how to cook. Having the best ingredients will make for the best meals, but this costs money. To save money, you need to shop the sales.
Regularly check the grocery store circulars looking for specials, particularly pricey meat and seafood. When you spot the specials, stock up and freeze it for later. This works for the basic cuts of meat like boneless chicken, but also for more expensive cuts like Filet Mignon.
The trick to shopping the specials with success is learning how to properly freeze your items. You want to wrap them in foil or butcher paper, making sure to seal out as much air as possible. Air is the enemy because it will cause freezer burn.
Start Meal Planning
Last on the list of ways to eat well on a budget is meal planning. This is something that is pretty much mandatory if you want to save money, plus it comes with some time saving benefits.
So, how do you meal plan?
It is about as simple as can be, to meal plan you simply plan your meals. Write out a list of all the meals that you want to serve in a week, including snacks. Then, you can make out a shopping list that has everything on your list and nothing more.
The benefit to meal planning is that you virtually eliminate food wastage, which can be as much as 20 percent in the average household. For many homes, it might be 200 dollars a month or more in savings. That will allow you to buy better ingredients, so that you can eat like a king, while still sticking to your food budget.
As a side benefit, meal planning also saves you a considerable amount of time. Since you have all of your meals already planned out, you will not have to put as much thought into meal preparation. You can also eliminate many of those last minute trips to pick up forgotten ingredients. This saves time and money.