There is nothing like sitting down at the dining room table and sharing a home-cooked meal with your family. You get to relax after a stressful week and talk to your loved ones, all while enjoying the delicious taste of a dish that was pulled out of the oven mere moments ago. The only thing that will make it taste better is knowing this dish didn’t cost you an arm and a leg to make.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends over $3,000 on eating out in a year — altogether these payments make up 43% of their annual food spending. The category of eating out covers a variety of circumstances like ordering take-out, delivery, going to restaurants and getting snacks at vending machines.
Families can’t avoid spending money on food, but they can reduce the impact that food has on their bank accounts. Experts recommend that families eat out less and spend more time preparing home-cooked meals to save money.
Recipe ingredients will be much cheaper than restaurant dishes, and they can be used for more than one meal. For instance, a whole roasted chicken is considered one of the best budget dinners you can make for your family. It’s a loss leader for the supermarket, as it’s often cheaper than a raw chicken. As a result, roast chicken ends up being an affordable protein, and it can be used for several days. Even when there’s no meat left on the bones, you can boil those in a pot and make soup stock.
Another way that people waste their money on food is stocking up their fridge with new groceries and then forgetting about them until they need to be thrown in the garbage. The Natural Resources Defense Council found that the average household in the United States throws $1800 worth of wasted food into the trash on a yearly basis.
If you want to save money with home-cooked meals, you have to learn how to make the most out of your grocery shopping. A blog like MoneyKey has a handy guide to keep your food budget as small as possible while making sure the quality of your cooking stays high.
One of the best pieces of advice is to make a meal plan before you even go to the store. Brainstorm the meals you want to make during the week, look up the recipes and write down the ingredients. Getting all of the ingredients that you know you’ll need guarantees that nothing will go to waste.
Here are some other important planning and shopping tips that you should follow if you want to learn how to reduce your grocery bills in a hurry:
● Always bring a shopping list to the store
● Download apps for coupons and customer rewards
● Try to go meatless for one day of the week
● Never go to the store when you’re hungry
A blog like MoneyKey can also help anyone that doesn’t have enough money in their account to deal with a crucial bill or unexpected payment—particularly those who have bad credit. When you have bad credit, you may not meet the requirements for a loan from a mainstream bank.
Fortunately, online lenders don’t put as much of a focus on credit score during their approval process.
You can apply for an online loan instead of going through a bank. They give people the opportunity to apply for cash loans fast, so they can tackle their problems and get back to normal.
A popular excuse for eating out instead of cooking at home is that it takes a lot of time and effort. When you have a busy schedule, it’s hard to whip up a new and healthy recipe every night. There are still plenty of quick and easy ways that you can trim your food costs.
You can save money on your daily coffee habit by brewing your favorite drink in the comfort of your own home instead of going to the nearest café for the same thing. Turning your kitchen into your personal café will be especially helpful for people who like specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Buying a $4 latte every single day will cost you over $1400 by the time the year is over.
Or maybe you’re the type of person who always forgets to pack a snack and turns to the vending machine for chocolate bars, chips or candy. You can stop spending so much on junk by preparing food ahead of time. Here are some ideas for healthy and cheap snacks that you can easily toss in a plastic container and shove into your bag before heading out for the day:
● Oatmeal bars
● Fruit leather
● Roasted chickpeas
● Carrot chips
Home cooking can seem like an intimidating chore, but all it takes is a little practice. Soon enough, you’ll find that every one of your homemade meals is just as good, if not better than anything you can order off a takeout menu. If that’s not enough of a motivator to pull out your apron, think of all of the cash it will save you.