8 Food related tips for living below your means

  • Shop at Market Basket and Trader Joe's instead of Stop and Shop, Safeway, Bread and Circus or Whole foods. This can save you money even if you have to drive a little further to find a market basket. There are always one or 2 things that will be cheaper at some other store, but the prices for the exact same item at Market Basket compared to other stores you might be using is likely to disturb your calm. Also- they have fresher produce than the other stores near us...
  • Make your lunch at home. Once you start shopping at Market Basket, you will find that making 5 lunches for $10 is easy. Compared to $8 per day, eating out (I'm low-balling the cost of doing this in Boston where I work) you can easily save $30 per week or over $100 per month.
  • Geoff recommends: "Take your lunch to work. Throw together some leftovers." I include this suggestion as separate from the one above since bringing leftovers is not the same as getting in the routine of making your lunch and thinking about both, depending on how busy you are from week to week, is a good approach. If you are eating out at night or going out for lunch one day, and it is only a dollar or two extra for enough food to leave a full lunch worth of leftovers for tomorrow, pay the extra dollar or two to avoid spending eight more dollars tomorrow.
  • Holly Recommends: Plan ahead for food when traveling. Obviously if you do not travel a lot this may not save you a ton- but if you go skiing or to the beach on the weekends or constantly buy bottled water or snacks when stomping around town, you could easily save money.
  • Geoff recommends: "Only drink water at restaurants. Drinks are marked WAY up, and you need more water anyway. And you don't need the calories from soda or alcohol."
  • Sean adds: "And don't get alcoholic drinks at a chain restaurant that doesn't list the prices next to the drinks. They're way more than you realize. Even then, I've had some places do something like a bait and switch where I order one drink (margarita) and get something different (some sorta fruity margarita). No big deal, right? Well, it cost $2 more, plus he put in the more expensive tequila without asking. I took his tip and gave it to the next server that brought me water." (I like the way Sean ignores Geoff's advice to avoid alcohol but to be smart about ordering it. I too feel compelled to remind folks to approach all things in moderation and that includes saving.)
  • I would add that I have often found that when you eat at a chain you often pay more than you would for a locally owned restaurant in general. Finding good local spots as opposed to cheaper, but not so good restaurants is not always easy but digging around online can help a lot.
  • Furthermore, I am compelled to add- don't eat out often. If you want to save money, there is no way around it- eating out is expensive compared to what it costs to make a tasty nutritious meal. Plus if you save a lot not eating out all the time, you can splurge when you do go out, and actually enjoy a meal and a night that you would not be able to beat at home. So in opposition to the spirit of this list, here are some of my favorite expensive nights on the town:

No comments: