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Easy Ways To Save Money On The Food You Eat

Updated on October 26, 2011

Eat Better - Save More!

Saving on food takes a bit of planning and a bit of time. Here are some easy ways to get started.

1. Begin with breakfast. Always make your own. It can be a muffin, a breakfast shake (make it a healthy one - there are lots of excellent pre-mixed ones available), or a bowl of instant oatmeal. All these things can be eaten while you get ready for work. Prepare it the night before. Fill the coffee maker the night before and preset it, or turn it on the minute you arise. Now you are off to a healthy start and probably saved a couple of dollars by avoiding over-priced coffees and overly-sweet breakfast treats.

You can take your shake and your coffee to work in thermoses if you prefer to do so.

2. Bring your own lunch to work. Plan for it in your weekly shopping trip so that you have a variety of healthy options available. Make it the night before. What takes minutes the night before seems to take hours, if done in a rush in the morning.

3. Cut out the soft drinks. They are unhealthy and expensive. Drink water instead. It may seem bland at first, but you will soon get used to it and crave it as you once did the sugary drinks.

Make sure to have your own water bottle. It is cheaper and saves the environment from the millions of plastic bottles polluting the landscape. You can also fill your bottle with juice from home, if you so choose.

4. Plan to only shop for food once each week. Make a food budget and stick to it. Shopping wisely takes time. Set some aside for this task.

Take time to check your supplies. Make out a meal plan, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. Have a list of things that you do not need, right now, but will soon. Buy these now IOS (if on sale).

Make a list and be ready to choose alternatives. This means you will buy an alternative if it is on sale. You planned for a chicken but the ground beef is on sale. Buy the beef.

Calculate your costs as you shop to stick within your budget.

Walk quickly away from temptation and turn a deaf ears to pleas from your children for extra treats or snacks.

Always eat before your shop.

5. Eating out can make serious inroads into your budget. Avoid alcohol when eating out. It is expensive and also makes you an unsafe driver. Avoid restaurant desserts and coffee. These are generally over priced. Make a special dessert before hand. Come home to enjoy it with a cup of your own coffee and a drink or two to round out the evening.

Never plan to eat out unless you know what it will cost. Phone ahead and get a list of prices. Make use of all coupons and special offers. These can make eating out a reasonably priced pleasure.

When treating someone to a meal, make it lunch instead of dinner, and you will save considerably.

Consider a vegetarian restaurant or meal. They are less expensive and the food is delicious.

6. Consider vegetarian meals at home. The food is healthy, and contains much less fat.

Beans are a good alternative to meat, highly nutritious and much less expensive.

Buy in bulk, possibly sharing the cost with a friend or neighbor.

Always compare prices as well as nutritional value.

Avoid impulse buying.

If you are short of cash, be creative, and make do with what you have on hand.

Do enjoy treats now and then, but try to make your own. You will be healthier for it, and your pocket book will be fuller.


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    • billips profile image

      billips 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you for your kind comments Mimi721wis - I think we have to be very cautious with out buying - the food chains put a lot of thought into their merchandising, with the result that we buy what we don't really need or even want - great to hear from you - B.

    • profile image

      Mimi721wis 6 years ago

      Great info Billips; I found myself buying items just because they were on sell. That was sometimes waisteful because I'd often have items on the shelves I didn't really care for. My family really enjoys home cooked meals. There are a few occasions I've found it a little more economic to order out. Great hub. Thanks for the follow.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 6 years ago

      Billips, What a practical, realistic, thoughtful summary of ways to cut back on food expenditures! In particular, I like the way that you stress the importance of homemade meals. Additionally, I like your concern over the damages to budget and health of rampant soft drink buying.

      Thank you for caring and sharing,


    • profile image

      billips 6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting Sangre - too many people don't realize the importance of drinking water - B.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 6 years ago from Ireland

      The tips you give on the packed lunch and refilling your own water bottle are easy and useful. Plus your more inclined to drink your daily intake of fluids if it's handy. Good tips.

    • billips profile image

      billips 6 years ago from Central Texas

      I agree - I really don't know how people afford to buy those specialty coffees - what they cost would cover the cost of a meal at my house - B.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Excellent advice. Not buying coffee outside the home saves a bunch over time.

    • billips profile image

      billips 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for your comments Oliversmum (I too favor the Mum over the Mom)- home-cooking is so much healthier, and of-course more economical - Happy Christmas to you too, and all those around you - regards, B.

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

      billips Hi. Thank you for all this wonderful information.

      I must admit we prefer our own cooking,that way we know exactly what we are eating and it costs a lot less than eating out.

      You have given me a lot of ideas on how to save money and eat a little healthier.

      Thank you again. Voted up and very useful.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family from the other side of the world. :):)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      You are very welcome, B. And I thank you for the follow. THAT, my friend, means the world to me. I suggest that if there are ANY hubbers on here from Tupelo, Miss., ask the manager at the Waffle House, near Ryan's Restaurant, why the coffee is so high. I can see that if it's a big city like N.Y. with Starbucks, a famous brand, but Waffle House? Come on. The coffee was even lukewarm. Billips, why dont YOU write a hub about what has happened to quality products and service in America? That would be great. Merry Christmas to you, friend.

    • billips profile image

      billips 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for the comments Kenneth - it's great to be following you - a three dollar cup of coffee? - that probably costs about three cents to make, and that's robbery, pure and simple - a Merry Christmas to you too - it's nice that there are still people out there that aren't afraid to use that word - B.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, billips...GREAT read. Voted up and away. Sensible and doable tips that anyone can use. @ agaglia, yesterday I bought a cup of coffee at a Waffle House in Tupelo, Mississippi, and it almost ran me $3.00. Billips, keep up the great writing and you will help a lot of people. Including yours truly. Merry Christmas. Kenneth

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 6 years ago

      great ideas. I spent $5.05 on a cup of coffee this morning.

      What was I Thinking?!

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 6 years ago from Southwest

      These are some great money saving tips. As always I love your Hubs.

    • incomeguru profile image

      Oyewole Folarin 6 years ago from Lagos

      Thanks for sharing this informative content, it's always good to take what you'll eat to work rather than going to restaurant to eat.

    • billips profile image

      billips 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you both for your kind comments.

    • hazelwood4 profile image

      hazelwood4 6 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

      This is a great article on saving money. In today's economy we need all the advice and help we can get in regards to saving money. Voted up and useful!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      This is all great information. I HATED cooking for the longest time and did mostly carry-out for meals. Now that I make my own food for all the meals in the house I save so much money - and my family and I are sick a lot less often! Thanks for the hub :)