Eating At Home
There are a lot of ways to save money on eating at home. Things you can do that are both simple to implement and better for your health.
Learn To Cook
If you do not already know how to cook, now is the time to do it. It is really not all that complicated. Cooking your own food will save you a fortune on pre-made frozen meals and takeout. It will also taste better and is much healthier.
Learning to cook is simple, but you need to take it one step at a time. If you are a complete novice, start with meal kits like Chicken Helper, etc. Then graduate to cooking your own meats and fresh vegetables.
Avoid working with fresh herbs in the beginning and use some dried seasoning staples. The basic seasonings that you need are salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and perhaps some oregano.
A quick tip that will make your life a whole lot easier is to always brine chicken before cooking it, especially boneless skinless chicken which has a tendency to get dry quick. Brining adds moisture giving you a cushion that will keep the meat moist, even if it is over cooked. Look up a simple “salt and sugar brine” online.
Save On Meat
Meat will easily be the biggest part of your food budget at home. To save, you do not need to buy “cheap meat”, you just need to by “meat cheap”.
First, you need to get a deep freezer which will only cost you about $200 new or about $100 used on local market websites.
Next, you need to start looking at supermarket flyers, They will usually place one or two different cuts of meat on sale each week. One week it might be chicken breasts, the next it might be hamburger meat. It will continually rotate.
Stores like to make meat a loss leader to bring people in where they will then buy extras. Instead, just come in and get the meat and buy it in bulk. When the chicken goes on sale, go in and buy 20 pounds of it. Do the same for other cuts. Divide it into single portions and freeze it.
Loss leader meat deals will be far cheaper than any deal you can get anywhere else. Even warehouse stores can’t beat them.
If you like fresh vegetables over frozen and canned varieties, buy them at a farmers market. This could be an outdoor variety with local farmers or a chain type.
Chains like Sprouts are coming to most cities selling very high quality produce at cheap prices. Most of it is priced very well on a daily basis with some products also becoming loss leaders on occasion. Check the circulars to see what is on sale and when .
Staples In Bulk
Staples like rice, dry beans, canned goods and spices can be purchased in bulk. This is where the warehouse store will come in handy.
Buy staples that never go bad in bulk and store them in your pantry.
If you have kids, buy your snacks at the warehouse store as well. I save a fortune with my Sam’s Plus card on kid snacks alone. They can be up to 50% off of what you would spend at a grocery store.
Use Your Leftovers
Don’t just throw it away. American’s waste 150,000 tons of food every day. Freeze your leftovers and use them as lunches, as a basis for another meal or simply have leftover night.
On leftover night, bring out two or three leftover meals, reheat them and let the family pick and choose.
Go Meatless One Day A Week
I’m as much of a carnivore as the next guy but I can admit that as Americans, we eat too much meat.
Go without meat one day a week and save money. In addition, the added vegetable intake can do you some good. All of us can use some extra antioxidants and vitamins in the system.
If you eat out on a regular basis, you have a lot of ways to save. Restaurants can cost a small fortune, especially for a family. Here are some ways to save.
Shop Group On & Living Social
If you like to eat out and like to try new places, this is what you need to do. Save 50% or more and get to explore new restaurants.
Check the websites often because they change all of the time. Also, pay attention to reviews and expiration dates. You don’t want to buy a deal at a place that nobody likes or one that expires soon.
Get A Doggy Bag
Stop wasting food. Bring it home, and do not worry about looking needy, there is no shame in the doggy bag.
A restaurant leftover can make a nice lunch the next day. If the restaurant offers free bread, don’t be afraid to ask for a piece to go. Just be sure to tip your waiter or waitress.
Share A Meal
Some restaurants offer portions that are way too big for one person to finish. Order one entree and ask for an extra plate. Some restaurants will even split the entree on to two plates for you.
You will save money and your waste-line will thank you. There are a few restaurants that will charge you extra for splitting an entree, so watch out for them.
Join Restaurant Email Lists
Visit the websites of your favorite restaurants and join their email clubs. Most of them have them as customer retention is extremely important in the restaurant industry.
Once you sign up, you should receive coupons from time to time in your email. It will not be a fortune, but ten dollars off here and ten dollars off there will certainly add up.
The markup on drinks is huge. 5 cents in soft drink syrup should not equal a $3 beverage charge.
If you are serious about savings, get water instead. Just skip the lemon, trust me, too many hands in the lemon container.