One of the biggest areas people overspend in is on food. Eating is part of life, and you need to allow yourself enough money so you can buy healthy items and take care of yourself and your family. It can be even more difficult to eat healthy and save money when you feeding just yourself or you and your partner. One common strategy is meal planning. Here are some other strategies to help you save on food and especially on eating out every week. In addition you may want to check out this article on extreme couponing or a menu planning service. With the rising cost of food, it is even more important to implement a solid budgeting strategy.
1. Meal Group
Cooking each night can be tiresome. Even if you plan ahead and eat leftovers, the appeal of stopping and getting food prepared by someone else can be very appealing. It is much easier to not prepare all of the food yourself all of the time. One of the solutions to this problem is to form a meal group with your friends or roommates. This group can be as big or as small as you like. Generally if it is bigger than ten people, it may be more difficult on the night you are assigned to make dinner. As group decide how often you want to meet together to eat. Some groups do it three nights a week, others do it Monday through Thursday. It depends on your lifestyle and your work schedule. Then you need to set up a schedule where each person is assigned a night to cook dinner for everyone. Set a time for dinner to be served. This can work with a lunch group with coworkers as well.
2. Meal Exchanges
Another option is to form a group where you cook a meal and divide the portions up to exchange with a group once or twice a month. The meals should be food that tastes well reheated and does not take long to bake. Although if you all have time and access you can do a freezer meal group instead. It is easier and less expensive to cook in bulk once or twice a month and then divide the portions up between others to use as lunches or dinners in the future. You can buy a set of Tupperware or pans that are used for the group. Or you can each bring your own to put your portions in.
3. Take Leftovers to Work
On the days you do cook, divide what is left into containers to take it to work for lunch. You can make a meal large enough to feed a family and freeze the leftovers so you can spread them out over the month. This will give you the variety you need, while saving you money on fast food or convenience meals. Additionally you can decide what and how to cook, which gives you the opportunity to eat healthy meals, you can control your fat, salt and meat intake when you do this.
4. Bulk Buying Co-op
Do not waste your money buying bulk fruits and vegetables if you are not going to eat them before they spoil. Although, bulk vegetables and fruit are much less expensive than buying them from a grocery store. You can form a group where several people buy several different types of fresh vegetables and fruit in bulk from the local farmer's market or co-op. You can schedule a visit once a week or once month to the farmer’s market. Each person in the group can take a turn going to the farmer’s market and then divide the produce equally among the people in the group. Set a time to pick up the week’s produce and drop off the money from the next week.