In the past few years, I have written a few posts around cooking. The reason behind cooking at home is not just because I enjoy home made meals, but it helps with our savings.
If you do the math, assuming that you are a single person that eats outside almost every day or atleast half of the month, you would end up paying 5 – 10 dollars a month. Multiply the 5 dollars with 15 days and that is 75 dollars a month. If you look at the meals over a year you are spending close to a 1000 dollars a year. For a family that gets even more expensive and in some instances you could be spending as much as your mortgage payment each month which could cost between 2 – 4 dollars, portion the salad for a meal, you could spend a little over 50 cents. Now add less than a quarter of a chopped onion, with small pieces of chicken, some cheese and salad dressing, you end up paying between 1.50 dollars to 2 dollars for a similar salad.
What I am trying to prove here is that, with a little planning, time and patience you can save quite a bit, enough to reach the financial freedom you may be looking for.
The only way the math won’t work above is if you are eating meals at the restaurants that you may want to eat at home as well. This cost could end up being the same. So think about the types of meals you would want to eat.
Check this article in the boston globe that supports the theory in the last paragraph.
Here are a couple of tips to save on meals:
- Plan, Plan and Plan: Planning your weekly meals is a life saver. Make a master list of foods that you can make and each week that you sit down to make a list, refer to this master list.
- Shop Smart: Shop smart and stick to eating foods that you no will not have expensive ingredients. I have found that you can find some good deals in stores like Aldi’s and Price Rite on vegetables and fruits. Use coupons as well. I am not a big couponer, but I need to figure that one out.
- But only what you need: There is no need buying in bulk if you have a small family or are single. Use the list that you make each week to determine the groceries that you need. Stock things for an emergency in an emergency bin, but for your weekly groceries please buy lean.
- Eat out once a week or once every two weeks: Do not deprive yourself of eating outside. It goes back to # 1 Plan, Plan and Plan. The planning will enable you to figure out a low cost meal and will satisfy your urge to wind down.
The whole eating at home thing is still a work in progress. I am trying to apply a continuos improvement sort of philosophy to eating at home. Do anyone of you have a process in place to save money on meals? I would love to hear from you.