Hey girl, hey!
According to a finance article on CNBC, the average American family is spending around $3,000 a year just on eating out alone. This same article also goes on to mention a story about how in 2016, one couple reviewed their credit card statements only to discover that they had spent $30,000 on eating out in one sole year (that’s nuts!).
However... with the conveniences of fast food and restaurant chains popping up all over the place, it’s way easy for one to both overeat and overspend.
But for the sake of your budget girlfriend… EAT IN!
The fact of the matter is… eating out is expensive (let’s just be real), and in order to get to where you want to be financially, you can’t go eating and drinking your funds away! To be successful with your budget, it’s actually mandatory that most of your meals (like 90% of them) are made at home. And before you start making excuses, just know that I’ve heard them all before: “I’m single and have no one to cook for.” “I’m so busy and I really don’t have the time to cook.” “I don’t know how to cook, because no one ever taught me.” Listen girlfriend, where there’s a will… there’s always a way, right?! So let’s trash the excuses and discuss some ways that’ll help you save money and have fun while eating in! Let’s chat! 1. Find Recipes That Interest You. You know what you (and your family) enjoy, right? So stick with recipes you know will delight your taste buds. Here’s my suggestion: When you’re sitting on the couch or laying around scrolling through social media, make the most of that time and search for recipes that may interest you. Look for meals with ingredients you know you’ll love... that way you’re more likely to make it, versus something you’re kinda iffy about. In my down time, I sometimes hop on pinterest, scroll through the recipes I see there, and pin my favorites. You can follow the GFB Food Board on Pinterest if you need some inspiration for when you don’t know what you make. I pin all kinds of things on that board and I legit make almost all of them. And if you follow me on snapchat (mselle21), you’ll catch me whipping up all kinds of meals there too! 2. Use What You Got! So before you go grocery shopping, you have to make a list, right? But here’s a tip: Take a look in your fridge or pantry before you start your grocery list. Usually we all have food items left over from other recipes we’ve made, which can be used in future meals too. So let’s say you have half a package of pasta left, maybe a couple of chicken breasts, some spinach and a little bit of parmesan cheese (because this totally just happened to me). With those ingredients, think about what kind of meal you can make and only add to your grocery list the items you actually need. I decided to make this Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken that I served over the leftover pasta we had, and O.M.G… it was freakin’ delicious! The best part was that I saved some money on my grocery shopping because I made good use of what we already had, instead of letting it go bad and having to throw the old food (and the money we spent on it) in the trash. And let’s be honest, none of us can afford to throw money in the trash... 3. Shop For What You Need... Only! If you’re anything like I me, when I go to the grocery store (and if I’m not in a rush), I love to take my time and peruse through every aisle of the store… just to check out all the goods. But then I’ll find myself adding all kinds of things into the basket that were nowhere near being on my list. Then when I make it to the check line, and the cashier tells me the total… I’m up there lookin’ like bambi eyes because I’ve gone way over budget, but I’m too embarrassed to put anything back. Sound familiar? That’s why I really love online grocery shopping, because it keeps me from getting more than I need. I just write down my list of grocery items, search for them on the website, watch the amount as it starts to get close to my spending limit, then check out when I’m done. Keep in mind, though, that there’s usually a pick-up or delivery fee, so always be sure to budget that amount in as well. So if your grocery spending limit is $80 for the week and the fee is $5, only purchase $75 worth of food so that you can still cover the service fee without going over budget. 4. Factor in Quick Meals & Snacks. Often times, people will get stuck with a fridge full of food that eventually gets old and expires because they went into the whole “cooking at home” thing with good intentions, but then never mustered up the energy to actually cook the food they purchased! To remedy this, I will typically recommend purchasing items that can be quick to make and throw together, and this tip is especially helpful for those that are, shall we say… culinarily challenged. . Just make fast, simple meals like these Garlic Bread Pizzas, tossed with a side salad… and finito! Creating a meal doesn’t have to be complicated, just stick to the things you like and make it easy for yourself. But what about the snackers? So here’s a suggestion: Grab some of your favorites when grocery shopping to make your own little snack pack. Put together a handful of grapes, a few cheese cubes, and maybe throw in some trail mix, pretzels, or whatever else you’d like. The point is to just stay prepared. Set yourself up for financial success by planning ahead, so you’re not tempted to slide back into old, budget-busting habits. 5. Meal Prep YOUR Way! When it comes to meal prepping, there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Some people choose to make all their weekly meals on one day and others choose to make meals as they go throughout the week. The key here is finding what works for you. Personally, I tried cooking all my meals for the week on Sundays and discovered that method did not work for me. So now I just buy enough food to cook at least 3 meals during the week and as I make those meals, I’ll “prep” a meal or two and set it aside in tupperware for an easy heat ‘n’ eat meal later in the week! So do what fits your lifestyle and make it work for you. Plus, the more you practice your culinary skills girlfriend, the better you’ll be… and the more you’ll want to do it… and the more you’ll save. See how that all works?! So hop in the kitchen and whip up something good! If you need some help, sign up for the weekly newsletter the GFB fam sends out every Friday that contains all sorts of quick and easy meals you can begin incorporating into your regular routine right now. And once you begin making these behaviors habits, you’ll inevitably have more money because you’re not eating it all up! Have any money saving tips for eating in you’d like to share? Drop a comment below and let’s chat! Until Next Time, Elle