For the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at one area where you have the potential to save A LOT of money… And, that is on food!
We need to eat, so this is obviously a necessary expense. But it is also a discretionary one that is easy to overlook when we are trimming our budget and thinking about savings. How much do you spend on food per month? I’d venture to guess, it’s more than you think. 😉
Step 1: Look at your spending on food and come up with a real number.
This means factoring in not just your grocery bill, but every time you swing by the store to pick something up. Coffee on the way to work. Those lunches and dinners with friends/colleagues/your partner. Take-out when it’s been a long day and you’re just too frazzled to even think about cooking. See where I’m going with this? There are a lot of sneaky extras that slip in throughout the course of the month that often aren’t accounted for.
Here’s how to find your real number: Look at your expenses for the last 3 months and write down everything related to food or drink. Total that up and divide by 3, this is your average monthly expense on food.
Now what? If your goal is to cut down on expenses, pay off debt and build long-term wealth, you’ll need to look at your list and figure out where you are hemorrhaging money and where you can save.
Step 2: Decide where you can cut back and start by taking baby steps, immediately.
A lot of times when people make big goals or decide on sweeping changes, they fall short and get discouraged. Far too often it’s for one of two reasons: 1. They never get started or 2. They try to go from step A to Z too quickly. For example, instead of swearing off Starbucks all-together, cut your expense in half to start. If you are used to getting a coffee every day of the week, see if you can “treat yourself” every other day instead. But, implement the change right now. When it comes to saving money, momentum is everything!
Step 3: Preparation, preparation, preparation.
In order to effectively save money on food you must have a plan. This means knowing what you’re going to eat, what you have on hand, what you need from the store, and how it’s going to get done throughout the day/week/month.
- Take inventory of your kitchen. What staples do you always have on hand? Is there food that needs to be eaten/used up? What are the things you buy repeatedly? This is helpful information to have, as it will guide what you decide to make and where you should keep an eye out for coupons and savings.
- Take stock of your week. Is it exceptionally busy? Do you have a lot of night-time obligations? How much time will you have to prepare something? This will determine what you can, realistically, accomplish.
Some great tips in this area…
- Have a plan for what you’re going to eat.
- Go shopping. With a list!
- Prep your food on Sunday.
- Utilize your Crockpot or InstaPot.
- Know some great, healthy meals you can throw together in 20 minutes or less.
- Be willing to flex and adjust as things come up, but firm about using what you have on-hand.
Next week, we will dive more into the nitty-gritty of how to save when shopping and your best options for eating out.
If you have ideas that aren’t on this list, please feel free to share them in the comments below. And, as always, if you need help finding money to save or are curious about growing your wealth, I would love to chat via a FREE connection call.
Light and love,