Do you eat to live, or live to eat? It work both ways… Bottom line we gotta eat. But how to satisfy the hunger without starving your wallet. How much do you spend for food? and food for your household? RM500? RM900 or RM1,600… It will definitely depends on our income and budget, and the size of the family you are feeding. According to my wife (who’s the family account), we (5 of us + the maid) spend about $1,000 per month on food. The food include groceries and dining out. Of course once in a while we need to dine out to fulfill our extraordinary appetite
But do we realize that many of us blow our budgets further on restaurant meals. That’s so true. One would be broke at the middle of the month if they frequented dine out. Few days ago, I read an article on the featured section in Yahoo.com. They’ve listed 9 ways to save money on food, whether you’re eating in or out.
1. Learn to Cook
Eating out is a huge budget buster. Even seemingly inexpensive fast food can add up quickly. Cooking your own meals could save you a small fortune on restaurants and groceries (you’ll buy fewer pricey frozen and prepared meals). Plus, you could make dating cheaper — who wouldn’t be impressed by a cozy dinner? Scour the Web for simple recipes to get your feet wet, or check out beginner cook books at your local bookstore.
2. Take Fewer Trips to the Grocery Store
Making bigger shopping trips less often will cut down on your impulse buys. In fact, almost half of all shoppers go to the store three or four times per week. Shoppers making a “quick trip” to the store usually purchase 54% more than they planned, according to a study published by the Marketing Science Institute.
If you go to the store three times a week and spend RM10 on impulse buys each trip, that adds up to RM120 extra per month. But if you go only once a week, you’ll spend RM40 per month on impulse buys. That saves you RM80 per month, or RM960 per year. (Impulse buy is something that you don’t plan to buy, but you saw it in the store and decided to buy it).
3. Break your Restaurant Routine
This may seem obvious, but we are creatures of habit and convenience. Make an effort to cut back a little, such as dining out once a week instead of three nights a week. With RM20 meals, this simple act will trim your expenses by RM160 a month.
4. Bring Your Lunch to Work
Spending just RM6 a day on a home-made lunch versus RM10 a day on the mixed rice shop next to the office will save you about RM80 a month and RM960 each year.
5. Grocery Shop With Focus
Another way to cut down on impulse buys is to shop with a list. Sketch out the week’s meals and jot down the ingredients you’ll need. Remember to factor in treats, snacks and lunches. Then stick to the list. You might find it helpful to leave the kids at home so you’re not tempted to give into pressure from crying children for an extra treat or toy that isn’t on your list.
6. Buy Generic
You can almost always save money by choosing a no-name brand instead of a brand name. And you usually won’t sacrifice much in quality on many items, from cereal to canned goods and frozen vegetables. Also, the savings on generic baby formula and prescription drugs can be huge. You could save a few cents to a couple of Malaysia Ringgit per item. And that adds up quickly each month.
7. Make Your Own Latte
That daily RM1 cup of coffee is costing you RM30 per month — or more than RM360 per year. Invest in a good-quality coffee 3 in 1 packet (Super brand for instance) and make your own brew for much less. Or kick the caffeine habit altogether and enjoy the health benefits along with the financial.
8. Time Your Meal
No, eating quickly won’t make the bill smaller. Rather, consider eating out for lunch instead of dinner. That way, you can get lunch-menu prices for dinner-quality entrees.
9. Mind the Unit Price
Many grocery store tags will tell you how much an item costs per ounce, per kg or by some other unit of measure. Comparison-shop by unit price and save. I always buy Twiesties Tomato flavour on my way back home from work in a Shell or Petronas which cost me RM1.80. I should have bought them in Tesco or Giant or Econsave where it cost between RM1.30 to 1.40 per pack
With reference from Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.