Do you spend too much on food? You’ve noticed that the food portion of your budget is getting out of hand. You can’t seem to keep up with the costs of groceries, takeout orders and restaurant dinners by the end of the month.
Why Should You Change Things?
If you notice that one category of your budget is draining your paycheck, you should make a change. The situation isn’t sustainable. You won’t have any savings to handle unanticipated problems. Without those savings, you’re going to panic when your car needs repairs or your plumbing needs to get fixed.
What if something goes wrong? If you don’t have enough savings to cover a small emergency, you could try applying for a personal line of credit. This open-end credit tool can come in handy when you encounter an unexpected expense and don’t have other means to pay for it. If you’re approved for the tool, you could request a withdrawal within your credit limit and use the funds to handle the emergency quickly.
You can avoid this situation entirely by cutting your food costs and saving more of your paycheck every month.
How Can You Cut Your Food Costs?
Minimize Food Waste
One of the reasons why you spend so much on groceries every month is food waste. The food that you bought goes bad, and then you have to throw it out and buy more.
An estimated 76 billion pounds of food waste is made by households in the United States per year. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re tired of throwing out food and money, these are some things you can do to minimize food waste:
- Learn how to properly store items so that they stay fresh for longer.
- Freeze items to preserve them for future use.
- Stop overstocking your fridge. Purchase what you’ll need to eat for the week — not more.
Curb Your Impulses
Sometimes you splurge on something delicious and then regret the purchase right after you’ve finished eating. This is called impulse spending.
How do you stop? First, understand when you use food as a coping mechanism. According to a survey by The Balance, the top comfort splurge during the pandemic was food — it came before alcohol, streaming services, cosmetics and clothing. So, if you’re feeling emotional, try to find cheaper coping mechanisms like talking to a friend or meditating.
What else can you do to curb your impulses?
- Go grocery shopping with a list and stick to it.
- Always have easy-to-prepare snacks at home.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Being drunk can encourage you to overspend on food.
Cook at Home
Do you go out to restaurants all of the time? Do you order delivery every week? Do you grab takeout every day? These spending habits are draining your budget. If you want to save money, you should try to cook at home more often.
Brew Your Coffee
You can also save yourself a lot of money by brewing your own coffee instead of buying cups to go from your favorite coffee shop. For instance, if your coffee shop of choice is Starbucks, you can spend over two thousand dollars per year on coffee after getting two $2.75 drinks a day. That expense will grow if you ever decide to upgrade to pricier options on their menus, like mochaccinos, pumpkin spiced lattes or frappuccinos.
Your food costs don’t have to take up such a big portion of your budget. It’s time to cut back that portion and save yourself some money.