My wife, Heather, and I have figured out a few tricks to help us save money on food. Our two biggest money wasters in terms of food came from eating out a lot and throwing away food that had gone bad. Other little things we were doing were also costing us money that could be saved. The following frugal living tips will have you save money on food just as we have been able to learn how to save money.
First, contrary to popular belief, stocking up in bulk on food items is not necessarily the best way to save money on food. Heather can be quite the picky eater. Furthermore, sometimes a food she likes one week is a food she hates the next. Pregnancy made things worse in terms of what she would eat and what she turned her nose up at. Fortunately, though, her tastes did change for the better after the birth of our daughter. However, to avoid buying a bunch of food that will never get eaten, we have started buying only what we need when we need it. Running to our local grocery store every day is actually cheaper for us, although Heather does try to plan most of our meals out a week in advance. We are paying only for what we use.
Not buying in bulk is also a good way to learn how to save money, especially when it comes to perishable foods. In the past, we would buy large quantities of food like fruits and vegetables and frozen foods. If not eaten up fast enough, those fruits and veggies went bad. Sure, we helped out our compost pile, but we ended up wasting a lot of money just throwing food onto a decomposing dirt pile. Other things like frozen foods take longer to go bad, but sometimes we ended up throwing out food we no longer wanted or that just no longer looked or tasted appetizing. We have a big deep freeze, but we no longer stock up. Heather has gotten good at buying only the food that we will actually eat. Buying what we need when we need it really has helped us save money on food.
Another of my helpful frugal living tips is to be careful about eating out. Depending on the dish, eating out at a restaurant can actually be cheaper. Time is also a factor. We could spend hours in our kitchen making some of our favorite dishes, or we could eat out every now and then. The time we save is well worth the money it costs to eat out. However, in our effort to learn to save money, Heather and I have scrutinized our restaurant habits. A good filet mignon from our favorite steakhouse is one thing. Grilled cheese is another. If Heather wants grilled cheese, I make her some at home. If we both want a delicious steak, we go out. We have also tried to limit eating out to just our mommy-daddy-date nights on the weekends. To repeat what we said earlier: eating out at restaurants is not the enemy when trying to save money on food; however, be careful about where, what, and how much you eat out. The only difference between grilled cheese at home and grilled cheese eating out can just be the pricetag.
Finally, Heather has been couponing in an effort to save money on food. For the most part, she stocks up only on nonperishable items like toilet paper, paper towels, and her soaps and shampoos. She also buys quite a bit of boxed and canned foods with coupons. However, the more she saves on non-food items, the better off our budget is in general. Furthermore, she tries to combine coupons with sales whenever possible to get the best price possible.
With these frugal living tips, Heather and I have been able to successfully save money on food. If you too are looking for ways to save money, I suggest you follow our tips. Saving money is easy when you buy only what you need, are careful about eating out, and use coupons. Do you have any other tips for saving money on food?