Food prices are like Jack’s beanstalk. They just keep rising and there’s no end in sight. This year marks a time when unemployed, underemployed and even employed are cutting back the frivolous spending and tightening the budgets. As the holiday season approaches, Reuters asked 1000 Americans how this Holiday season would affect their lifestyle,
A total of 28.4 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed by Americas Research Group said that rising food costs would cause them to cut back on their Christmas shopping “somewhat,” while another 7.2 percent said that they would “most definitely” cut back.
Have you considered cutting back on gift-giving this holiday season? Roughly 1 in 4 sure have.
Regardless of your financial status, there are simple ways to cut back uncessary spending on food that will result in an extra $20, $40 or more in your wallet each month. Whether you decided to allocate that money on gifts for family and friends or into your 401K, taking these simple steps will give you the freedom to decide.
5 Ways to Save Money on Food
1. Leftovers are your friend. A package of meat can be made into four different meals throughout the week from meatballs to a meat based stew. Not sure about how long to keep food? One of my go-to resources is the Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart by the FDA. This chart shows you how long food can last in your fridge or freezer depending on the type and is also an excellent resource for food safety.
2. Expensive Desserts. Does the Cheesecake Factory come to mind? While dining out is a pleasure many of us enjoy there is no reason we must shell out $7 for a small sliver of cheesecake. It sure tastes great going down, but after going out once a week for 52 weeks, you’ve already spent $364 a year on one piece of cake considering you’re only paying for yourself! If your parents or loved one pays, think of the money they could save too!
3. Jamba Juice/Starbucks. An adage at this point. If you haven’t heard of David Bach’s “Latte Factor”, it’s as simple as it sounds. A latte a day costs on average $5. $5×365=$1,825. Okay, maybe you don’t drink one every day. The point is you could put that money to better use. Addicted to caffeine and need your boost? Make it at home for a fraction of the cost.
4. Multiple Uses for Bread. How many types of bread are in the grocery store? Rolls, bagels, slices, baguettes. I’ve seen people buy flat breads, garlic bread, and sliced bread all in one trip! If you buy one loaf of bread (for a single person) it can last you the entire week. Get creative! A piece of toast with breakfast, two slices for your sandwich and your burgers at night can be sandwiched between two slices put in the toaster oven. Why do you need to spend an extra $15 on bread that really serves a similar purpose? If you’re serious about savings, you will have to make cut-backs.
5. Don’t Save Everything. Buyer Beware: Too much saving and restriction may cause you to be unhappy, miss out from events with friends/family or worse, cause you to binge once you get a little cash in your pocket. By using the rational thought process you can safely determine whether to buy the sliced bread AND the bagels, or if you really just need one item that can act in different ways. Friends going to the Cheesecake Factory? If you’ve been saving money in other ways, give yourself a treat.
The only way to truly save money on food is to be disciplined. Clip coupons, read eFlyers, eat your leftovers and avoid throwing away $5 a day.
Let us know how you are handling your food budget below!