Food is probably the biggest proportion of our monthly budget in which we have complete freedom to spend what we want.
Our rent or mortgage, car payments, day care or taxes are non-negotiable on a month-by-month basis, but whether you dine like a king or eat ramen all month is entirely up to you.
For that reason, it’s one of the easiest places to find savings in an otherwise fixed budget.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to starve yourself in order to put more money into your savings account. There are some straightforward changes that can make a real difference.
For example ...
Plan your meals
Most of us expect that eating takeout every night would get pretty expensive. What more people don’t realize is that deciding what to eat on a daily basis, rather than planning ahead, can be almost as expensive. Those frequent trips to the store for ingredients often come with added extras - a bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate - not to mention the extra gas needed to get you there. It also makes it harder to take advantage of special offers, because you go with only one or two meals in mind.
Start by making a list of all the meals you like eating. Then make a list of the days of the week and add three of those meals each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t forget to add on snacks and drinks. Before you know it, you’ve planned your meals.