Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Save $1000 a Year

Saving a buck or two here and there can add up to a significant savings over time. And for food and beverages, certain habits can drastically reduce your expenses over the long term. Here’s a few suggestions for saving money on these necessities:

Brew your coffee at home instead of going to the cafe.
Whether you buy the convenience store coffee for $2 a cup or the $5 a cup gourmet coffee, brewing it yourself for pennies a cup can save hundreds of dollars a year. The big two pound container of grounds makes 240-270 six ounce cups of coffee for about $12, or even much less if you catch it on sale and stock up.

Buy a nice water bottle that you enjoy using, and fill it up before you head out for the day.
Whether on your commute or out running errands, getting thirsty can add a couple dollars to your daily routine if you don’t come prepared. And if you occasionally crave something sweet, keep of few individual-serving sized drink powders in your car so you can mix it up on the go.

Pack snacks to keep in your car to ease your hunger pains.
Do this so you don't have to stop at the drive-through, where you can easily spend $5 or as much as $20 if you have kids with you. Crackers, peanut butter, pepperoni sticks, granola bars, and chips are a few examples of foods that are easy to leave in your bag or the glove box until you need them, so you always have a snack available. This easy routine will pay off even bigger if you typically have kids in the car with you.

Avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
Everything will look good when your tummy is rumbling, and you’re more likely to fill your cart with goodies that you might not have bought otherwise. Avoid grocery shopping with kids and spouses or partners, too. You’ll automatically spend more money with more people putting things in the cart. And you’ll end up with a smaller grocery bill by using the smaller cart rather than the monstrous cart.

Use fewer convenience foods.
While busy families usually feel they need to have at least some quick and easy meals in the freezer, reducing or eliminating them can be fairly easy with some meal planning - just make extra when you cook and freeze your own meals. Prepackaged potato, pasta, and rice dishes at a couple dollars each can be virtually eliminated if you buy the standard unseasoned variety in bulk and add your own seasonings. And while you’re at it, buy cheeses in the big block, then cut it up yourself instead of buying the prepackaged cheese sticks.

Buy meat that’s being discounted because of the “sell by” date.
Meat is usually one of the items that significantly raises the grocery bill, and you can save up to 50% when you buy it this way. As long as you freeze it immediately, it will be good to use for months. The key is properly repackaging it to avoid freezer burn. (While it will still be edible and won’t cause harm, freezer burn ruins the flavor and texture of the meat.) Learn how to carefully repackage the meat in butcher wrap, or consider investing in a vacuum sealer to protect the quality of the meat.

Avoid going out to eat.
This hardly needs mentioning, but I did anyway. One meal at a typical restaurant is likely to cost about $30 with tip for two people, and that’s if you avoid the upscale steak or seafood places, where a meal for two can easily run $50 or more. $30 dollars spent at the grocery store can provide a small family with three or more meals at home. If it’s a weekly habit to dine out with your entire family, you can easily save a couple thousand dollars a year by saving the dining out for special occasions only.

Think about it, if you save just $20 a week by cutting out one expensive habit in food or drink purchases, you can save over $1000 a year on consumables. Saving that kind of money or even more is very easy to do with a little bit of advance planning for your nutrition needs.
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Thursday, 25 April 2024

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