The average article on how to save money on food might mention coupon shopping and stocking up during sales. This article, however, is about some of the lesser known tricks for spending less. Here are three to try.
Okay, I am not suggesting that you actually go hungry as a way to save money on food. But the things that the average person eats vary tremendously in price, so why not eat less of those things that cost the most and maybe aren’t so healthy? You don’t have to eat less over-all to save money if you eat fewer expensive dishes. This is true at home or when you go out to eat.
In fact, this tip could just as well have been titled “Eat More,” because one of the easiest ways to cut your consumption of expensive foods is to eat more of the foods that are cheap. In other words, if you get in the habit of filling up on a delicious and healthy cheap dish like seasoned rice and beans, you might not even have room for that expensive and unhealthy desert. In a Mexican restaurant you could fill up on the free chips and salsa and then just order a delicious appetizer in place of a regular meal.
Be a Gastronomic Opportunist
There is a way to eat all the same things you currently do throughout the year and even add more variety, while spending less money. How? By learning to enjoy whatever is on sale at the moment instead of insisting on always catering to the fleeting demands of your taste buds.
For example, you might enjoy oranges, strawberries, and apples. Perhaps you normally buy whichever sounds good at the moment you are in the grocery store. But these each go on sale when they are in season, sometimes for as much as 70% less than off-season prices. So if you were to eat oranges when they are cheap, then buy strawberries when they go on sale, and do the same with apples, you would still get all the variety you normally do, right?
But you would pay an average of maybe 50% less for your fruit. In fact, add kiwi fruit or other fruits and vegetables as they become plentiful and so drop in price, and you get even more variety. What’s more is that by doing it this way you get the best products, because these foods most often go on sale when they are at the peak of the season and fully ripe.
You can apply this strategy in restaurants as well. Just always look at the specials which are offered. You’ll always get variety in this way, and save money on the food you eat as well. You don’t have to see this as denying your desires, since you’ll get to eat everything you like and also get more variety than ever. Just see each meal or grocery purchase as a surprise gift.
Eat Before Shopping
This is perhaps one of the most important tips on how to save money on food. My personal “research” into this shows that we buy as much as 30% more at the grocery store if we are hungry while shopping. Furthermore, it seems clear that if we have more food in the house we eat more – this is especially true of the snacks we load up on when hungry. That makes this a tip for healthier eating as well as a way to save money. Eat before you go. It also helps to have a list and stick to it, except when you find great sales to take advantage of.