Let’s face it, we all need to eat, and food is a large piece of the monthly expenses, and depending on the family size, could reach a mortgage payment amount if you’re not careful. Going out to eat is great, you get to have someone cook, serve you, and clean up afterwards, only for you to pay the bill, tip and head home. The problem is the bill and tip part, which can add up very quickly depending on how many times you go out to eat in a week. For a fraction of that cost, if you did the grocery shopping, you could prepare and eat every meal and snack at home.
Avoid Going Out to Eat
Sure, it’s easier said than done, but if you just stick to going out to eat on special occasions you will feel the savings add up almost overnight as you are saving say $100 a dinner by going out. That amount could cover you for two weeks from the grocery store. Even if you do go out and need to have baby steps in reducing your eating out budget, skip the appetizers, drinks, and desserts on the normal during the week meals, doing anything you can to lower the bill so you can make it what it’s intended for, which is eating.
Entertain at Home Before the Bar
No matter what age I get, I still meeting up my friends at the bar for a night. Whether it’s catching up with them or being out on the town, it still makes me happy, while some have grown out and enjoy being home bodies. Well bar tabs can be easy $100 a night per person if you’re out all night, so why not try to at least cut that in half and spend a couple hours hosting your friends at your home and drink at home first before you go out. Even if your friends drink your liquor, it’s still cheaper than what you would spend at the bar, and you’ll probably get a few drinks in return for hosting.
Take Inventory Before Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping can be very overwhelming if you don’t have a plan of attack. If you go in looking for one item you’ll be lucky if you remember to grab it by the time you come out, let alone fill the cart and come home with extra items you weren’t planning on. If you can make a list of every item you need, go in the store with your head down on the list, and stay focused, you can come out quickly, while staying on budget.
Make Sure You Eat First
If you’ve ever gone to Costco when you’re hungry and they’re passing out free samples, you hit just about every one because everything sounds good. Well same goes at the grocery store when you go on an empty stomach. You start filling up the cart with a bunch of unnecessary items because everything sounds good. By the time you’ve gotten a meal down you come to your senses and realize that you brought home a budget killer, but also unhealthy items that you now have to eat so they don’t go to waste, gaining a few pounds in between. Do yourself a favor and eat a full meal before you go shopping.
Stay Away from the Weekend Crowds
I don’t have to tell you that the weekends, let alone any day after work, will be slammed at the grocery store. It’s tough to find a parking spot, the aisles are slammed, and it seems like the line is endless at the cash register. If you can stomach going back out after you’ve gone home from work, changed, and ate dinner, you can head to the grocery store and be back in no time because you probably will not see many people there. Time is money, so to me saving on sanity makes a huge difference.
Don’t Miss Out of the Perks of the Reward’s Card
Going to the same grocery store over and over, why not take part in their shopper’s rewards cart if it’s offered in order to take part on the sale prices in the store. Sure, the prices are probably raised for non-members, but why pay more if you don’t have to. You can load digital coupons to your rewards card to be taken off at the register, and you can also take part in the promos such as the “10 for $10” as well. It’s nice when you can build up fuel points as well to save at the gas pump.