There are many ways to spend your money, and food surely is a great one, and that's a fact. However, when we say "save money on food" we don't mean you should cut corners on things you enjoy. Enjoy the hell out of things you like, but be smart about it. Keeping that same train of thought, these are five smart ways you can save money on food:
1. Be Selective About Eating Out
Go to your favorite pizza place every once in a while. Go to that place where they serve ramen just the way you like it, but stop settling for the things they offer around your workplace. Stop that. Bring your lunch to work from home. Make that the default and eating out the exception. Eat out when you really want to, but bring your lunch from home by default.
2. Have a Plan
Everything is better when you're prepared. You can prepare for everything. You can prepare for preparation, and that's exactly what we're talking about. Don't just make a list of things you're out of and go to the supermarket. Plan for it. Think about what you want to eat this week. Think of the main dish (you might wanna have about three different main dishes for the whole week and just repeat a couple of them). Now think of the side-dish. You probably want to have two different side dishes for the whole week and mix them with your different main dishes so that you eat something different every day. Once that's decided, groceries will be much more efficient and you'll be in control.
And don't forget to plan for dinner too. You can use some of the things you're planning for lunch (like the side dishes) or maybe even the main dishes, but keep in mind that if you're going to have them for dinner too it's easier to grow tired of it and you'll need more of it too.
3. Wiggle Room
While you're at the groceries make sure to notice what's on sale (and how good of a bargain is it). Maybe this could replace one of the side dishes you were planning for. Perhaps this could replace one of the main dishes of the week. Think about it and make a decision. Look at your list, and adjust accordingly.
Sometimes when things are on sale, they're still great, but they're bound to go bad soon, so make sure that the things you buy will last through the week. Keep an eye out for that.
4. Semi Home Made
A lot of things that are canned and cheap are really good, they just need a little help. Thinking semi home made isn't for everyone, but as you practice this, it'll become easier.
If you're the kind of person that usually eats things as they're sold, just think about anything that you'd like to add to it.
If you're the kind of person that cooks everything from scratch, think about the most time consuming part of your cooking and try to use something ready made instead, or just keep cooking everything from scratch if you want, but think about the time you spend doing so. Of course the point of having free time is that you do whatever you want with it, but one could argue that free time is even more valuable than regular time.
Try doing a calculation of how much time you're spending and how much your time is worth. You might be okay with the result, you might not, the point of this exercise is that you don't spend that time unknowingly.
Stop buying small bags of chips every time you want to snack on chips. Buy your snacks in bulk (unless your snack is fresh fruits and vegetables, which is awesome, keep doing that!) and then package them in ready to go snack sized containers or bags. You can do that with chips if you want, but we want to take this chance to recommend a healthier option... salted peanuts perhaps? It's just a thought.
Apples travel best when they're whole, so if you want to snack on an apple, you might wanna just take it whole. Biting an apple helps strengthening your jaw. Try not to take out the skin, since that's where the fiber's at. Everything else is mostly sugar.
Also, most offices have water dispensers with clean water available for their employees. Drink that. Forget about sodas, please, forget about anything else. The water's there and it's free.