As my wife and I have been adjusting to our life with extra income (as many young adults are forced to do), I have been reminded of the importance of saving money on food. It is easy to become either busy or lazy and resort to eating out more often than you should. I fear that this is what many young adults do. It’s just easier to go out and eat, right?
If you looking to save money, whether it is to pay off debt or start saving for retirement, one of the easiest ways to save money is to cut back on food. Did you know that the average family spent nearly $2700 in 2009 at restaurants? That’s nearly $50 per week just in eating out. This may not sound like it is worth the sacrifice to some. Yet, if you were to save this money and invest it in a retirement fund for 40 years, you would have approximately $800,000, assuming an average 8% interest.
How My Wife and I Save Money on Food
My wife and I have a pretty basic system when it comes to saving money on food. Even though it is simple, it is quite effective. We Make Two large dinners on the weekends. We make enough food to have leftovers throughout the week. We make two meals because there are two days on the weekend AND because it offers us a little variety throughout the week. No one likes to eat the same meal 5 days in a row, right? Instead, we use the two to alternate. I told you it was simple…
Here’s how it saves us money:
- It prevents us from eating out when we are either too tired from the work day or too busy (like when we are taking classes at night since we are both in graduate school). No matter what anyone says, warming up leftovers in the microwave is ten times easier, healthier, cheaper, and faster than going out.
- It makes grocery shopping really easy. We buy food only that are needed to make the two meals (and any snacks for our brown-bag lunches). This prevents any useless spending or splurging.
- Because we focus on two meals (that are planned out by how many meals we can eat), there is less food waste.
- Less time making dinner each night means more time to relax, do homework, and yes, you guessed it – BLOG!
If you find yourself frustrated with failing to meet your food budget, you might consider doing something similar. It takes a little getting used to and it may not be as “exciting” as going out to eat each night, but it is worth it in the long run.
photocredit: karindalziel via flickr