Save Yourself - Don't eat Yourself Into Debt

Do you seem to spend all of your money on food? Did you know that eating out is one of the top reasons for personal debt? We’ve brought you some tips to stop you eating yourself into debt.

Lunch and Coffee Breaks

Cofee It can be a shock to find out how much you really spend a month on small things you usually wouldn’t worry about. All those £2’s for coffees add up and you can soon find yourself spending too much. For one week, make a note on how much you spend on lunch breaks, coffees and vending machines throughout the day. Multiply your weekly total by 4, I am sure you will be shocked at how much you are spending a month on these things that are not a necessity. Save money by taking your own lunch into work and making coffee when you get there instead of buying one on route. If you insist on having one, pick up a loyalty card so you can earn rewards and free drinks. Take your lunch breaks elsewhere, away from temptations. Prepare your lunch the night before and bring snacks to save yourself from the vending machines. 

Save Money on Your Food Shop

If your food shop is eating it’s way into your budget then make sure you’re being savvy in the supermarket to slash that food bill. Opt for supermarket branded items, plan your meals and stick to your shopping list. Buy in bulk when food is on 3 for 2 offers, you can always batch cook meals and pop some in the freezer for another time or freeze the food before cooking for a later date. Use vouchers and sign up to store loyalty cards. You’ll get points for everything you buy which you can redeem on future purchases.

Take Away Food

Do you find yourself eating out or ordering a take-away more and more often? Is eating out breaking your budget? Do you find yourself using theCheesy Chips same old excuses, “I’m too busy”, “I don’t know how to cook” and “it’s easier to eat out or order in”? Take away orders are not only expensive, they are convenient and it is easy to fall in to the trap of ordering one when you don’t have the time to cook. In the time that it takes your food to be delivered, you could easily make your food from home. Find recipes online for your favourite take away foods, there are plenty of recipes out there that you can easily recreate yourself ranging from Chinese recipes, burgers, kebabs and much more. Make a weekly meal plan to avoid the spontaneous need to order in. If you’ve taken stock of your cupboards, and done your food shop to reflect your meal plan then you shouldn’t have any reason to order in. If you know you’re going to be short for time then meal prep in advance. You can always make double batches of food and store some in the freezer for a quick re-heated meal.  The ingredients you buy to make a take away at home will cost you a lot less than ordering a take away meal.

Eating at Restaurants

Many of us can’t afford to eat out all the time, but we do it anyway. It’s an expense that is usually last minute and not usually planned within your budgets. Did you know the average cost of eating out for a family of 4 is £60 a meal? If you do that just once a week that works out at a cost of £3120 in one year, which can work out at a similar cost to your entire weekly food shop. There are many alternatives to eating out, the main one being to cook from home. If you’re finding that you don’t have the time, invest in a slow cooker. Slow cooked meals can be prepared with very little effort and left to cook whilst you are at work. When you get home a lovely meal will be ready and waiting for you and your bank account will thank you for it. If you are eating out on the odd occasion for a birthday or celebration and there is no way around it make sure you browse the internet for any voucher codes or deals that you can use to save yourself a bit of money on the final bill. 

Snacks

NutsWhen you’re shopping, it may be tempting to buy pre-packed little snack bags. They’re convenient; they’re pre-portioned and handy when you’re on the move. Did you know that you can make your own pre-packed snacks at home for a fraction of the cost? Let’s take the little 250g bags of mixed nuts and raisins, available for around £2 in your supermarket. If you buy all of the ingredients separately, this comes to around £8 but you get a whopping 1850g of nuts, meaning each 250g of your homemade mix costs just £1, so it’s worth buying in bulk where you can to cut costs. This is just one example; you can also buy larger bags of crisps or pretzels and portion them out into small single sized bags. This can stop you eating an entire bag in one sitting and save money on those small bags that are filled with air and not many crisps.  

Check Your Fridge and Freezer

Regularly take stock of what you have in your fridge and freezer. Check use by dates on what’s inside to avoid having to throw anything away. Meat can be one of the most expensive things on our shopping lists so get into the habit of checking the dates so you can transfer items to your freezer if needed, or cook them for that night’s dinner. Dairy products are often forgotten about and can’t often be frozen. If you have excess cheese approaching its use by date, use it up in a different way. Try adding grated cheddar to mashed potato or mix with breadcrumbs to form a savoury topping that can be put on any meat or fish. Try and reduce waste as much as possible by using everything before it goes out of date.

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigWe hope these tips will help you to save money on food in general, and ensure you don’t eat yourself into debt. Do you think you will be putting some of the above into action?  We love feedback so please use the comment section below. 

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