One of the biggest surprises, when you start regularly tracking your monthly budget, is often how much we spend money on food and beverages every month. This is one of the categories where we tend to over-spend the most.
And this for two main reasons. First of all, drinking and eating are quite social activities (a meal with friends, go for a drink or a coffee after work …). Also, we often tend to be tired and lazy to cook … and to turn to the nearest fast food.
This is one of the types of expenses for which we waste the most money. And the problem is that they contribute very little to our happiness in the long run, but are rather impulsive and related to a lack of preparation.
There is only to see the difference between shopping with an empty stomach or a full stomach. Everything is a question of perception.
Discover in this article the best ways to save money on food and drinks, without having to deprive yourself!
At the supermarket
1 – Always do your shopping with a list … and a full belly. One of the best ways to waste money at the supermarket? Go there without knowing exactly what you need and want to buy. Before you go, browse your fridge and cupboards to find out what you need to buy. And above all, eat just before to avoid cracking on all the delicacies that will cross your path …
2 – Look for discount vouchers in advance. There are dozens of websites with special offers and discount coupons that you can print or present on your phone during your checkout. Take a look before you go to the supermarket.
3 – Replace branded products with private labels. Branded products are often (much) more expensive, but there is actually very little difference from their private label counterparts (ie “supermarket” brands). And sometimes, these are even perfectly identical … Try to replace some brands that you used to buy by their small price equivalent – once the psychological barrier passed, you might be surprised.
4 – Compare the price of the products before buying. Comparing prices only takes a few seconds, but can allow you to make huge savings in the long run. Look at the price per kilo, which can sometimes be higher even when the products are said to be “on-sale”.
5 – Order on the Drive or use the scanners. If you have a car, ordering it on the Drive is not just a time saver. It’s also a good way to save money on a daily basis. It’s much easier to avoid impulsive purchases when you’re not roaming the shelves, and you can also track the amount of your cart to avoid a surprise once at the checkout. Ditto for the system of “scanettes / zapettes” more and more proposed in supermarkets.
6 – Always take a look at the radius of short dates. The “short dates” department is now my first destination when I arrive in stores. It groups all the products whose expiry date is approaching and which can no longer be offered for sale “classic”. Take a look to see if some of the products on your list are missing, or if you could replace a few with these short promos.
7 – Do not be fooled by the techniques of supermarkets to make you spend more. The heads of gondolas that make-believe in promotions, the most expensive products placed at eye level, offer “promotions” where the products are actually more expensive per kilo, put at your disposal huge baskets … There are plenty of techniques that supermarkets use to encourage you to buy more. Try to keep a cool head and stick to your list so you do not get caught.
8 – Take advantage of cashback systems. Some websites or applications like iGraal.com or Poulpeo.com allow you to benefit from a partial refund on food shopping. Cumulated over time, savings can be significant.
9 – Avoid waste starts at the supermarket – not in your fridge! Why buy an entire 6-7 banana diet when you only need 3? Even when the price is low, paying attention to the amount will make a huge difference in food waste and will help you save a lot in the long run.
In the kitchen & at home
10 – Plan your meals in advance with a meal plan . It’s something that we do now every week at home. At the time of writing the shopping list, we prepare a calendar where we set in advance all our meals morning, noon and night for the week. In addition to no longer having to ask ” what do you eat ” every night, it’s a way to make your life easier and save money.
11 – Adopt the “batch cooking” / “meal prep” . Cooking meals in advance can seem time-consuming and complicated. But on the contrary. The meal plan is the insurance to simplify your life, in addition to saving money! Rather than spending 20-30 minutes a day cooking your evening and lunch meals (or going out and buying … and wasting more money), book 2 hours on Sunday to cook all your meals in advance. of the week, and store them in Tupperware.
12 – Replace sodas with sparkling water. Yes, I admit: I love the soda. This is probably one of the expenses for which I have the hardest time controlling myself. I still managed to (much) limit my consumption by replacing the soda with sparkling water, and forcing me to buy only one bottle a week. In addition to a positive health effect, your budget will also thank you.
13 – Set your food budget in advance – and stick to it. You should plan a specific amount in your budget each month for your food shopping (not counting meals outside), and then stick to it, even if you have to make some sacrifices. How to “spend less” shopping if you do not even know how much you spend at the base?
14 – Forget the dishes – cook! In addition to being bad for your health, processed products and prepared meals are usually much more expensive than if you cook them yourself. Knowing that many of the meals on the go are pasta dishes or salads, they are particularly easy to reproduce.
15 – Remember to freeze. When it comes to saving money on food, the freezer is your best friend. If you find promotions or short dates at the supermarket that you do not plan to eat right away, freeze them. Ditto for leftovers that you are not sure of eating: rather than waiting until it is too late and having to throw them away, just put them in the freezer.
16 – Organize a “party leftovers” . We do not realize it, but to throw the remains is also to throw money. Once a week, plan a dinner or you will finish the rest of the week. To make the idea a little more fun, you can even revisit: cook a new sauce to finish the pasta, create your salad …
17 – Store dishes in the fridge & freezer for “emergencies”. Do you eat outside too often? One of the best ways to limit yourself is to prepare for food emergencies. Especially to avoid the ” oh, I too lazy to cook … and if we ordered something?». Your special dish “lazy” should be a recipe that you particularly like: cheeseburgers, frozen pizzas, couscous or paella … And if the dishes are certainly not good for health, remember that this solution is not supposed to be occasional. And anyway, the fast-food would probably not have been much better …
18 – Stop eating out every day. One of the best ways to waste money is to buy your meal outside every day. Really: you lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month by eating out rather than bringing your Tupperware. Instead of having lunch at the restaurant with your favorite colleagues, find them at the park or cafeteria to eat together. You might even make more than one jealous …
19 – Recreate the menu of your favorite fast food … at home. You’re about to crack for an Mc Do so you have an irresistible urge to Mc Chicken? And if you cook it yourself? Today, you can find almost any recipe for restaurants and fast food online at a much lower price.
20 – Do not take the menu. If you order a meal to take away, just take your dish or sandwich, off-menu. Cooking some fries in the oven and serving a glass of soda will only take a few minutes – and will cost you a lot less.
21 – Take your coffee instead of buying it. One of the best ways to save money without having to give up your daily coffee is to prepare your own mug at home and then take it to work (in a thermos or other). Taking the average price of a simple coffee, buying your coffee every day rather than doing it yourself costs you around $ 568 a year.