Being that school started last week, and given the hectic week I had, I promised to spend this week blogging some of the things I do to make life a bit easier. I hope by now that you’ve caught on to the the fact that my love for food goes beyond the need for basic sustenance, and borders on obsession. Simply put, I love good food. When it was just Bacon Slayer and I, we frequently went out for nice meals. It was kind of a hobby of ours. (Dorks!) But we started to get tired of take-out, and I suspected that our food budget was out of control.
I say that because although our grocery bill seemed reasonable, I had a feeling that we were “nickel and diming” ourselves to death on hidden food items. I challenged Hubby to save every receipt for every food item purchased away from home, and I did the same. We saved receipts for every latte, every lunch, every pack of gum, or anything that we bought away from home and put in our mouths. We tucked them into an envelope and forgot about them. At the end of the month, and I added up the receipts. The results were shocking! We were almost doubling the amount that we spent on food at the grocery store on take out and impulse items! Talk about an eye-opener. When I realized how much money was being piddled away on impulse or convenience food, I was ticked. Especially when, with a little planning, I knew we could eat more tasty and healthier food at home, and save a ton of money in the process.
The single easiest way to curb your food budget is to resist take-out and convenience food and cook at home. That may sound like a tall order during a hectic week, but you don’t have to be a wizard or superhero to make it happen. With a little advanced planning, and a well stocked pantry, you can be eating great food and saving money.
Earlier in the week, I shared my favorite freezer staples I keep on hand to help accomplish this goal. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of ideas listed. Take baby steps. Start by saving all of your receipts for the month, and adding them up at the end. See how much you are really spending on food each month. Then try to plan a weeks worth of meals, and eat/drink only food prepared at home for that week. (I found a great, free personal spreadsheet to do this online.) Planning ahead and eating from home really will make your life easier. You’ll never have to wonder “what should we eat?” because you’ll have it all planned out. Once you’ve accomplished a week of home dining, then start fine tuning your meals by shopping the sales, etc. Add a step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be eating so well at home you’ll wonder why you ever ate out so much in the first place. And just think of what you could do with all the money you save!