Eat. Save. Love: How to Eat Cheaper in 4 Simple Steps
We know: Grabbing some fast food on the way home from work is a really easy way to eat. But we also know that it’s a really great way for you to spend way more money than you need to. Eating out all the time will not only lead to a bursting waistline, it will lead to a bursting budget as well. If you’re trying to cut back on your expenses, paying for someone else to prepare and serve you food just ain’t gonna cut it.
Here are four steps you can take to get your diet—and your finances—under control.
Step 1: Cooking
Cooking your meals is probably the best (and simplest) way to save money on food costs. No more relying on expensive take-out or—even worse—delivery. Start cooking today with groceries that you buy yourself and you’ll see your food costs plummet. (Oh, and “ready-made” meals like frozen pizzas and microwave dinners don’t count.) And if you don’t know how to cook, that’s okay! Start off with easy stuff like a casserole, pasta dish, or salad with chicken breast. AllRecipes.com is a fantastic place to look for popular and simple meals. And if you have any questions, you can literally just Google them—the internet will provide. We also have a list of 6 cheap and tasty recipes for you.
Step 2: Meal Planning
If there is one thing that goes hand-in-hand with learning how to cook, it’s planning your menu out ahead of time. Without a solid map of what you are eating and when, it is all too easy to just say “oh well” and swing by McDonalds for dinner. So set a time every week where you (and your family) can go over your week and plan out every single meal. You can then use that plan to make a shopping list and go to the grocery store. Once the food is sitting in your fridge, you’ll be much more likely to make the meals you have planned. If you keep having to go to the grocery store throughout the week to pick up food for that night’s dinner, you’ll be more likely to get discouraged and cheat.
Step 3: Batch Meals
Don’t have the time or the energy to cook every single night? That’s understandable! And you know what they say: Time is money. If you want to save money by cooking your own food while cutting down on the time commitment, try batch cooking. This means cooking up a really big meal that can be easily reheated for multiple meals throughout the week. There are great batch cooking recipes all over the internet—everything from casseroles to meatloaf to rice pilaf and pulled pork. Cooking all your own food isn’t always easy, but batch cooking can cut through a lot of the hassle. Just make sure you invest in some good Tupperware. We repeat: You are going to need a lot of Tupperware.
Step 4: Slow Down!
This might sound funny—and we’re not passing any judgement on anyone—but most people just eat too dang fast. And guess what? Science has shown that eating fast leads to problems with digestion and can cause harmful weight gain. Remember, your body can only work so fast. When you eat too quickly, it takes your stomach awhile to catch up and tell your brain that you’re full. This means that you end up eating more than your body needs! If you eat slower, not only will you find yourself eating less—leaving more room for inexpensive leftovers—you’ll all also feel healthier.
Learning how to cook, how to plan your meals, and how to eat more slowly will help you control your food costs. So get your Rachel Ray on and start saving today!
- “Zelman, K. M., “Slow Down, You Eat Too Fast.” WebMD. Retrieved September 21 from http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/slow-down-you-eat-too-fast#1
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