Have you ever thought how much does an average American spent annually on food? I checked it out.
The bls.gov resource shared an interesting data according to which an average American, who earns $63,784 before taxes, spends $6,602 on food (of which $2,625 is spent at restaurants and $3,977 is spent on food eaten at home).
After simple calculation, I came to a conclusion that the same average American spends $2.41 per average meal.
Let’s suppose that he decides to save $0.10 of the every meal – he just starts eating less. In the result, he saves $274 per year on food only. I don’t take into account insurance, gas, transportation, entertainment and other expenses. Just food.
You can save on food and still live and prosper and enjoy your meals. How? Keep on reading.
My Golden Rule
I try not to shop when I am hungry and I teach my children to have a snack before going to the store. I guess everybody noticed at least once that we tend to buy more when we are hungry.
Planning is the Key
I don’t go shopping without a list. I have already written about 10 useful lists and lists with products occupies leadership positions. When you know what you need, you will focus your attention on these specific products. That’s the way our brains work.
How to Save Money on Food while Traveling
I think that saving on food while traveling is an actual topic in summer. So, when we travel with a family, I always:
- Take nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, or vegetables. We also prefer drinking still water. Recently, we have purchased a filter for a bottle (extremely useful thing for traveling). So, we always have a clear water. For hot drinks, you can take a thermos.
- Choose hotels with breakfast. Usually, the difference in pricing between hotels without feeding and hotels with breakfast is tiny. So, it would be more reasonable to pay a little bit more and have a full breakfast.
- During breakfast, I prefer eating protein products in a combination with fruit and vegetables to sweet cereals and sandwiches. They are nutritious and I can stay a couple of hours more without a full meal.
- Visit local places to eat. Speaking of the restaurants, I skip “traps for tourists” where prices are twice higher. You can eat the same Greek Moussaka or the same Spanish paella in the local restaurant for the better price.
- Use coupons. Yes, you can use coupons and special deals abroad too. Yelp Deals, Groupon, LivingSocial will help you.
- Become a part of the reward program. I used an offer from T.G.I. Friday’s that offers 1 point for every dollar spent.
- Visit restaurants where kids can eat for free. You should be around open houses, business or art shows, or grand openings where such options are available.
If you don’t know how to save money on food while on vacation, you should plan. I usually search for affordable locations beforehand, ask locals, check out reviews to know where to go if we want to eat delicious and cheap.
How to Save Money on Food at Disney World
Continuing the topic of summer vacations, I would like to talk about Disney World. The prices there are really magic… Magically high.
Prices for drinks in Disneyland are around $3.30 for soda, juice, or milk. Let’s say you order three drinks for three meals and additionally during the whole day. It will cost approximately $15 for one person. I’m the lucky Mom, whose family prefers water. So, we order free glasses of water for every meal and save almost $80 on drinks.
Furthermore, in the fast food restaurants where portions contain fries, baked beans, and other food we don’t eat, we exclude them from a menu and save approximately $2.50 on every meal. We order entrée only and skip the sides.
The other golden rule is to carry your own snacks – nuts, bars, fruit – it can even replace a lunch for me.
Pay attention to those locations that offer special deals or free refills and skip the Disney Dining Plan if you don’t eat a lot. This way you will save $60 per day. Speaking of the “Special deals”, I mean those locations that offer free dining if you book a stay for some days during off-season.
Disney World has a certain amount of credits that you have to expire before negotiated time. Therefore, maximize your expenses and squeeze out your plan. Still, you should check out available credits beforehand to choose those that you really need.
How to Save Money on Food in College
In a month, some of you will take the children to the college. Of course, you will face expenses that will hit your pocket. Some of us will even need to plan student loan refinancing. Food is the first thing that ravages pockets of the students, as they prefer visiting buffets, restaurants, cafes, and street food vans to cooking independently and planning their budget.
Some campuses offer meals but the statistic shows that students tend to spend 85% more on the food of they use this option. So, even if you decide to choose campus nutrition, choose the right plan.
Teach your child to plan and shop right. Aforementioned tips will help you to save money on food by planning your shopping.
Purchase a slow cooker. It’s an easy tool that helps to cook budget meals for an affordable price. Your child will cook porridges, soups, and other budget meals and save money.
I’ve proven with my own example that saving on food is possible if your approach is systemized. Chaotic shopping, laziness, and bad habits destroy your budget and leave you without summer vacation.
By following my tips, you will see the result as well as I saw. I hope my article was useful for you:) What topics do you want to see next on my blog?