Do you spend far too much money on food?
I’ve realized over the years that way too many people throw away money on food. I’m not just talking about $5-$10 bucks a day. I’m thinking more like $20-$30 dollars a day being spent by most people on food (if not more).
As we learned on Studenomics, you can get in shape without going broke.
Now think about this: if you were to buy all of your meals at the beginning of the week, say Sunday for example, and you prepared pre-made meals at home to eat throughout the week.
The amount of money that you could save would be phenomenal!
What are the benefits of healthy eating on your finances?
Let’s put it this way with a vague example: you want a chicken caesar wrap for lunch, if you were to go to a pita shop you would probably be paying around $7-$8 just for the wrap alone, plus you would need a drink and maybe a snack as well. So to ballpark-it, I would say that on average for that lunch you would be paying somewhere around $12-$13 hard-earned dollars. To me that feels like a rip off!
Say you were to go to the grocery store and purchase uncooked chicken breasts in a package, a head of lettuce, ceasar dressing, bacon bits and some pitas. You’re looking at about the same $13-$17 you spent on one lunch, when you can make at least 5 pitas with the food you bought from the grocery store.
So to put it plain and simple: if you were using this example and you were eating a pita everyday for 5 days, to eat out it would cost around $60, whereas to eat 5 pitas made at home it would cost around $13-$17 for the pita ingredients (depending on where you live), and $5 for a case of water or pop. Quick healthy meals don’t have to be expensive.
To sum this up, you would be saving almost $40 a week on lunch meals alone. That’s the main benefit of eating healthy on your budget.
What can you do with the money that you save on food?
Continuing on, if you were to take that $40 that you saved on your lunch meals at the end of the week and put it into the best online bank account that you find for a year, you could have almost $2100 just from making a pita at home instead of hitting a pita shop.
Now to me, I don’t understand why everyone isn’t jumping on this bandwagon, especially considering the economical circumstances! I mean, that could be a wonderful vacation that you treat yourself to at the end of the year, or save it for a purchase that you just never had the extra cash for.
Why preparing your meals isn’t just the best way to get in shape fast…
Now imagine if you were to make every meal at home, and you prepared the ingredients ahead of time and made pre-made lunches for the week until Friday. You could save way more than $40 a week, if you’re a regular restaurant coneseur, I would say you could at least save $100, if not way more, on food every week.
These savings could go to so many other places where they are actually desperately needed, such as an emergency fund if anything were to happen.
Now this all may sound like regular advice that you always hear, and I’m sure many people just aren’t content with starting this out.
How can I actually start preparing my own food?
I’ll give you some pointers on how this can work so easily…
- Purchase a week’s worth of groceries at the beginning of the week, say Sunday for example.
- Create a list ahead of time of the meals you would like to eat for each day and the ingredients necessary for these meals.
- Look up healthy recipes so that you have a rough plan.
For example: say Monday you want to take a ceasar salad and Tuesday you want to take a sub. After purchasing the items needed for each meal, prepare as much as you can on Sunday evening (or your spare evening) before the hectic work week.
For example, buy chicken breasts and grill the whole package and chop them in a container for the rest of the week. Now you have sliced chicken for pitas, salads, wraps, chicken omelets, etc. The rest of the ingredients can be prepared as well, and you can construct your meals to your eating standards for the week ahead. Now all you have to do is label each meal for each day and you have a week of food prepared.
Imagine the stress that is lifted when you know all of your meals are prepared ahead of time and you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat at lunch for the rest of the week?
Also, it will give you piece of mind knowing you have prepared your own meals to your own health standards. Now you can take the time to focus on other important areas in your life that have needed that attention but you just havn’t got around to it.
Talk about saving money the smart way, feeling great AND being productive! Now that is the perfect example of killing three birds with one stone.
To be honest, it’s much easier said than done. Personally, I had to get to the point where I had no money to eat out, and was forced to start preparing meals at home.
The trick is: make it a habit! Believe it or not but it only takes somewhere around 28 days to make or break a habit. Once you pass that mark you’ll find yourself not even craving the old fast food joints you used to love (WINNING!).
Try challenging yourself to make all of your meals every Sunday (or your free evening) for one month. How much money do you think you can save? Once you see the results and you start loading up your savings account, you’ll be amazed at how much easier and easier it gets to prepare your own meals. I mean, what did people do before Subway anyways?
To be fair however, I’m not suggesting that you never eat out or you start cutting down on the amount of food you’re eating.
To treat yourself, and motivate yourself to reach your goals, create a night where you can enjoy a nice meal out with some good company, and you will really reap the benefits. Not only will you feel great getting out of the house and enjoying a delicious meal, but you don’t have the lingering guilt that you have spent too much money on food and you shouldn’t be eating out. Instead give yourself a high-five and say: “Hell yeah, I deserve this for all of my hard work!”
Are you going to take the 30 day home-cooking challenge?
I’ll even do it with you and track my results and the amount of money I have saved from not eating out. I’m sure we will all be shocked by the results!
8 thoughts on “How-to Stop Spending All of Your Money on Food”
Those are great ideas. I used to actually follow them back when I had a day job. Right now, we eat about 50% of our meals at home and the other 50% out…I am working on that right now. Good luck on your 30 day challenge! I am not prepared to go hard core yet, but I think it is my goal for August. Great post!!!
There is so much potential to talk about budgeting for meals. The math puts it in perspective. I appreciate that you recognize the scope of possible savings while advising that reaching the full amount of savings might come gradually. 30 days home-cooking would certainly be a good challenge, but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet!
I hope you do decide one day to take the challenge, and notify me of the results. I would be glad to hear if it worked out for you guys! As for me, I’m currently a student, so completing this challenge isn’t too difficult (if you know what I mean). 🙂
I actually started my current no-spend challenge for this exact reason. I can buy a burrito at the gas station for $4 or I can make my own for about $1.
I’m the same way in that I didn’t really jump on board this concept until my money got pretty tight and I had no choice. At the same time I really wanted to eat healthier. So it ended up working out pretty well. I can’t say I’ve lost my cravings for fast food, but I do feel guilty if I have it too often. So I should be able to stick to mostly meals prepared at home.
Great post Sammy, you just reminded us that even small changes can have big results over the long run…$40 a week (or more) adds up to over $2100 in savings for a year!
Fantastic content to say the least. Cutting your bills on grocery and food is a huge way to save money. There is no such need to reduce the total quantity of intake or standard of meals. But obviously if we look into the matter, we can easily cut down our expenses by refraining ourselves from wasting money in expensive restaurants. Home made meals are any day better and healthier than going out. Moreover instead of having non veg items everyday, we can go for healthy and tasty veg items which in a way cheaper than any non veg preparations. In addition if we want to go for non veg items then grilled chicken is one of the cheapest and tasty dishes for meal. Thanks a ton for sharing the content.
Thank you for all of your wonderful comments! I’m glad I could put these savings into perspective. For more useful advice don’t be afraid to check out my blog. It’s just starting up, but there’s tons of useful advice on it already!