Last Updated March 29, 2021
Are you looking for some easy ways to save money on food? You won’t believe how much money you can save every month by just making a few small changes when you buy food. Find out 10 easy ways you can save money but still enjoy food on a budget.
10 Ways To Still Enjoy Food On A Budget
1. Meal Plan
One of the most important things you could do to save money on your food budget is to meal plan. Start by looking to see what food you already have in your house. Once you know what food you have, make a menu incorporating those foods.
Take the time out to plan what meals you will make for the week. Look for recipes that use those foods and ingredients that you already have. This will help you save money and cut down on waste.
Next, you should look at the flyer form your local grocery store before you go shopping. You can usually get these fliers online if you can’t get a paper copy. Look to see what’s on sale this week and use that as your starting point to meal plan.
Decide what meals you will make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you need help getting started, you can use the FREE Weekly Meal Planner in my Resource Library to write down your menu.
Here’s an example of what it looks like when I use the Weekly Meal Planner to make a menu for the week:
2. Make A Grocery List And Stick To It
If you want to reduce your food budget, make a grocery list before you go to the grocery store. However, before you make your grocery list, make sure you check your kitchen and pantry first. You don’t want to end up buying something you already have.
When you get to the grocery store, stick to your list and only focus on getting the things you need. Leave your children at home if you think they will make it hard for you to stick to your grocery list.
One method I use to stick to my list is to not go to the grocery store hungry. I find when I go to the grocery store hungry, a $50 shopping list turns into $100!
3. Buy The Store Brand
I don’t always recommend buying the store brand, because sometimes the name brand is a better value (especially if you have a coupon). But there are some items that I will almost always opt for the store brand—such as, frozen fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables and beans, seasonings, meat, and eggs just to name a few.
Most times, store brand products are just as good as name brand products and cheaper, too. One reason they’re cheaper than a name brand product is that they don’t have the research, development, and advertising costs. As a result, store brand products cost about 25% less than the name brand brands.
4. Get Rewards On Your Grocery Bill
One of the easiest ways to save money on food is to use Fetch Rewards to get rewards on your grocery bill.
Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it. Free rewards no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and collect your rewards.
Fetch Rewards works anywhere you buy groceries (from big box stores, mom and pop corner shops, drugstores, liquor stores, and hardware stores – it’s all fair game).
Sign up for Fetch Rewards now and use code “APREWARDS” to redeem 3K points!
5. Limit Eating Out
Another way you can manage your cost of food on budget is by limiting the number of times you dine out for the week. You should limit the number of times you eat out because it is at least 3x more expensive than if you were to prepare the meal yourself. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also usually a healthier option to cook at home.
Finally, always pack your lunch and take it with you to work when you can. Assuming you spend on average $10 per day on lunch, you could save yourself an extra $200 a month by bringing your own lunch—that’s a $2,400 saving every year!
6. Order In Instead Of Going Out
If you don’t feel like cooking and want to go out for dinner, opt to order in or get it to go. I like to use the website Seamless when I decide to order in. With Seamless, you can see all the local restaurants available for delivery or pick-up near your home.
If you decide to pick up, you can save on the 20% tip and automatically have your leftovers “boxed” up for lunch the next day. Ordering in also limits you from buying a cocktail—which brings me to my next point.
7. Do Not Buy Cocktails
If you do decide to dine out, do not buy any cocktails! I normally don’t buy any drinks (soda included) when I dine out because the mark up is ridiculous.
In New York City where I live, two cocktails can cost more than the actual meal sometimes. So skip the drinks, and focus on the good food and company.
However, if you feel the need to drink at a restaurant occasionally, and would still like to try and save money, take advantage of happy hour or order beer/wine. The prices are usually much more reasonable than a $15-$20 cocktail.
8. Share An Entrée
Restaurants usually have large servings; meaning you would often end up eating way more than you ever would or have leftovers to take home later. Therefore, I recommend ordering one entrée and sharing it.
If you have multiple children, having them share a meal is also an easy way to cut down on this expense.
If for some reason your dinner company and you can’t agree on one meal, consider ordering an appetizer and an entrée. This way you can have a smaller portion of what you like and will only eat a little of what your guest likes.
9. Skip Dessert
No matter how tempting the dessert menu sounds, resist it and head home after the main course. You will enjoy the ice cream you have at home just as much as the overpriced scoop at the restaurant. Who says you can enjoy food on a budget? So, take my advice and skip the dessert!
10. Use Coupons for Grocery Shopping And Eating Out
Use coupons whenever possible. You no longer have to wait until your Sunday newspaper to get coupons; you can print them online for free at websites like coupons.com.
As you can see, you can save money but still enjoy food on a budget. All it takes is a little bit of planning and organization. Don’t forget to sign up for Fetch Rewards now and use code “APREWARDS” to redeem 3K points! It’s the easiest way to get rewards on your grocery bill.
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When I make a grocery list, I go even farther and order it on peapod (Stop N Shop’s service) or the whole food instacart. I still go pick it up so I’m only getting charged the pickup fee, not the delivery fee. It’s awesome because I can build my grocery list in the week ahead (if I am running low on something, a click of the button puts it in my cart) and it’s really easy to meal plan but you skip actually going in the store and facing temptation to buy [INSERT TEMPTING FRIVOLOUS THING HERE]. It’s usually less than $5 to pick up, it’s always ready for me so “grocery shopping” only takes maybe 5 minutes, and it’s predictable and easy to budget. Plus, the $5 pick up fee is much less than the extra items I buy when I’m facing them in the store.
This is genius Steph! I never thought about that as an option. It saves you time and guarantees you stick to your grocery list…so I definitely think it’s worth the $5. How much is it for delivery? I may have to consider the delivery option since I no longer have a car 🙁
I don’t remember, I think around $15 for delivery but the problem is you have to be home and the cheaper delivery options tend to be longer periods of time, like waiting for your internet guy to show up. I usually just schedule the pickups for when I leave work and stop in on the way home.