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15 Simple Ways to Spend Less on Food and Still Eat Well

15 Simple Ways to Spend Less on Food and Still Eat Well

Buying food these days can really be a pain.  Its important to be smart with your spendings so you aren’t investing a whole paycheck just to groceries. The tricky part is spending wisely without sacrificing certain necessities. By following these 15 steps , you can surely put yourself on the right track to eating good on a budget.

1. Avoid Impulse Buys

What I mean by this is when you go into the store to buy your groceries, stay focused on only what you need, rather than at what looks enticing. It’s really easy to go into a store for a gallon of milk, and come out with $30 dollars worth of junk food that you really don’t need, but you got just because it looked yummy.

2. Shop With Your Blinders On

It can be pretty distracting when shopping for food.  You should always avoid buying something you question yourself on if it might get used, or not. If you go into the grocery store with the intention of buying milk, bread, and eggs go straight for those items, and then check out.

3. Stock Up On Frozen Goods

This is also a good idea for canned goods and other dry goods.  What we do in my house is buy these items in bulk when they are cheaper, and in the long run are saving money when the price goes up. Since they have a long stock life, you only have to worry about perishable items more often.

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4. Pack Your Lunches

This is the one that always gets people. These days, it’s just easier to stop at a fast food joint, or eat at a vending machine, rather than packing a lunch. The downfall of doing that is you are sacrificing not only your health, but you are overspending on food that’s not worth it. You can spend $5 on a burger and fries, or you can spend half of that on a packed lunch, and get more food out of it.

5. Use Your Leftovers

Now I don’t know about you, but almost every time we cook dinner in my home there are always leftovers when we are done eating.  A good way to cut back on food waste, and save yourself some money is to simply use these leftovers.  If you are like me, I like to take these leftovers as my packed lunch for work.  This kills two birds with one stone.

6. Share Meals at Restaurants

This is one step I wish I would have known about sooner.  By sharing meals when you go out to eat, you can save yourself a good chunk of money, and still enjoy going out to eat.  If you think about it, there is almost always a lot of extra food leftover at the end of your meals anyways, so why not pick out something that you and somebody else both like, and split it?

7. Use a Grocery App

Using a grocery app can be really useful in your quest to save money.  You can use it to check out the stores deals while you are there, check out exclusive offers (if you are a member), and it can even help you keep track of what you are buying, and or spending.

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8. Create a Shared Family Shopping List

If you are a fast-paced, always on the go family, then this would be really useful for you.  By keeping a cooperative shopping list in the house, everybody can contribute to it, making it easier for who ever does the shopping.  Another benefit to this is it helps reduce the spending on groceries that are unneeded, and that will generally just go to waste.  If everybody can contribute to it as needed, you will have the potential to save some cash.

9. Set Weekly Limits

This is probably one of the most simple concepts, but the hardest to grasp, but it is possible!  By setting a weekly spending limit, you can easily keep track of your spending.

10. Shop Off-Brand

There is no shame in shopping off brand, or store brand items.  They are usually always cheaper than the big name brand items, and usually you cannot tell the difference between the two.

11. Shop The Sales

Always check your local newspaper for sales.  You can always catch good deals when shopping this way, so why not take advantage of it? Also, by doing this you can plan ahead on what grocery store you go to, based on the best deals, saving yourself money.

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12. Become a Coupon-er

We’ve all heard of those extreme couponing people on T.V., the people who go so far out of their way clipping coupons, just to save money.  Why not become one of these people?  Maybe you don’t have to go extreme like the people on t.v., but clipping coupons can be a great way to save money on your groceries.

13. Become a Member

A lot of stores have free little memberships, where all you have to do is pick up a rewards card, sign up via email, and begin saving.  You can be included on exclusive savings, and coupons, and some stores will give you rewards points towards stuff.  These rewards can save you money on groceries, and even at certain places you can earn money off of gas.

14. Eat off the Value Menu

Another way to save money while eating out is to eat off of the value menu.  You can get enough food to fill you up for just a fraction of the cost by eating out this way.  This way you can still enjoy eating out, but you don’t have to pay full price to do so.

15. Set A Limit

One of the best budgeting tips is to take the amount of money you have each month to spend on food and take it out in cash. Then divide the cash into four envelopes, marked with the weeks (week #1, week #2, etc.). Only use one envelope each week and only spend what’s in the envelope.

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Spending money on food can be more stressful than it should be, so why not try to make it a little less of a headache than it has to be?  I hope these tips I came up with can help you, as much as they have helped me.

Featured photo credit: Money/401kcalculator.org via flickr.com

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Michael Daws

Aircraft Painter, Sports & Lifestyle Blogger

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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