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Eating on a Budget


One of the most variable lines in many budgets is the food line item – particularly when restaurants or fast food are part of the equation. 

Assuming you are serious about cutting spending – this can be a major place to cut.   So here are the suggestions:

1.  Stop eating out.  This may sound ridiculous and drastic to some. Believe it or not, there was a time when people practically never ate out.  No carry-out pizza, chick-fila or take-home Chinese. 

2.  Stop buying coffee/snacks during the day.  No more Starbucks, no more energy drinks from the convenience store – if you didn’t buy it at the grocery store, you don’t need it.

3.  Make a menu.  Write down each meal for four days to a week.  If you will not be home for a meal, plan to make a meal to take with you.

4.  Create a shopping list.  Use your menu to create a shopping list.  If you need to look up recipes – do that.  Then take the list to your pantry and refrigerator to decide what you do and don’t need to buy.  After you have been doing this awhile, try organizing your list based on how your grocery store is laid out – speeds up shopping.

5.  Only buy what’s on your list.  No impulse purchases allowed.

6.  Eat what you put on your menu.  This is the most important step.  Prep the meals that you planned and eat the groceries you bought.  There will be times when you are tempted to swing by the fast-food place on the way home because you just don’t feel like cooking.  Don’t do it.

I have seen families of four save $1,000 to $2,000 per month just by creating discipline around the above points. 

Doing this right can even be a path to eating healthier!

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