Ever wonder how much a family spends on food every month? According to our Finance Minister, we Malaysians spend 31.2% of our disposable income on food. That means every month, we are using a staggering one third of our monthly salary on food expenses. Isn't that scary? Let's find out how we can save money on food expenses whether for one person or for the whole family. Cutting down grocery bills and food expenses essentially means you will have more disposable income on the table for other more meaningful purposes such as education and savings.
7 Ways To Save Money on Food Expenses
1. Cook Your Own Food
If you are not eating out, you are already saving a lot of money for yourself and your family. By cooking your own meals or learning to prepare your own food, you will spend less outside. Why wait hours for a meal prepared by others that will cost your wallet to bleed? More importantly you can ensure that the food you cook and put on your table will be healthier and more hygienic. No more worries about "extra ingredients" being added to your food. On top of that, cooking at home can be a good hobby for yourself and your family as you will be constantly learning new recipes to literally add spice to you life. So how to save money on food and eat healthy? Cook your own food of course. Besides you will add another skill to your repertoire-meal planning.
2. Stick To Your Groceries List
Have you ever ended up buying more than what you have written on your groceries list? I am guilty of that as well. So how can we save money on food shopping? Stick religiously to your groceries list when you are buying ingredients for your meals later. Keep reminding yourself that whatever that is not in the shopping list is unnecessary. Here is another pro tip: Get the floor layout of the department store that you are shopping. Only go to the aisles where the things that you want are there. Avoid "traps" where snacks and comfort food usually linger like chocolate, cookies and fizzy drinks. You will be surprised how much you can save when you do not spend unnecessarily on extra food that will fatten you up and cause you to be ill.
3. Meal Planning For The Whole Week
With both parents working these days, it can be quite difficult to prepare a very wholesome meal for the entire family every single time right? Hence meal planning comes into play here. Plan what you will be having for breakfast and dinner for the whole week. By doing so, you can prepare the ingredients in advance, thus saving you a lot of precious time. Do you know that using an air fryer or a pressure cooker can cut down your cooking time by 70%? On weekdays you can prepare healthy and tasty food using one-pot cooking recipes using a pressure cooker. Yes, basically you just need to cook one dish using the pressure cooker to enjoy scrumptious and balanced dinner for everyone.
4. Use Affordable Ingredients
There is no denying that some of us want to enjoy the so-called finer things in life especially when it comes to our food. But then again, that does not mean that you need to break your bank just to enjoy lip-smacking dishes right? Avoid recipes which require expensive ingredients. Instead of preparing beef, lamb, salmon or expensive fish a few times a week, try other more affordable alternatives such as chicken or eggs. You will be surprised that there are thousands of ways to cook your chicken and eggs. After all both chicken meat and eggs are leaner and healthier for your diet.
5. Dining Out Wisely
Nobody says you should not dine out or take away your meals right? In fact, your wife or mother needs a break too, after whipping out those delicious meals for you at home. However I highly recommend that you do not dine out more than twice a week if you want to have more savings in your piggy-bank. Those occasional reward for your family or even yourself can turn into huge fat bills if you do not keep tab on what you are splurging on. Even a simple meal in a cafe for a family of 5 can easily cost more than RM150. Here is a pro tip when you are dining out: Do not order beverages OR order a bottomless drink that everyone can enjoy. 😁
6. Use E-Wallets or Credit Cards For Discount, Rebates & Cashback
So you might be asking: How can I save money on food without cooking? Is that possible? Of course you can still save a lot of money on food even you don't lift a single finger to cook. Use credit cards and e-wallets to get more discounts, promotions and cashback when you are dining out. In fact some credit cards and e-wallets will also give you extra discounts and cashback when you buy your groceries. This is really awesome right as you can stretch your money to work for you. However do not be carried away, thinking that you can spend more from the money that you have "saved". In other words, credit cards and e-wallets are double-edge swords that you need to use wisely to your advantage.
7. Practise Intermittent Fasting
It is undeniable that the fewer meals you have, the more money you can save. So if you want to save money on food without cooking or dining out, then you really need to learn to fast. Intermittent fasting has been scientifically proven to bring a lot of health benefits. So basically by praticising intermittent fasting you can save money and be healthier as well. Instead of eating all 3 meals daily, you can skip either lunch or dinner. If one lunch or dinner costs you around RM10 (US$2.50), you will be saving a whopping RM300 (US$70) monthly. In fact, we do not really need to consume so many calories daily right? More often than not, we are overeating which is responsible for the countless "expensive" ailments that we will suffer later on in life.
BONUS TIP: Avoid Luxury Coffee & Beverages
A lot of us love coffee and some of us really love to sip the java from Starbucks right? Some even substitute coffee for food. I agree that the coffee at Starbucks can be tastier and more aromatic, but then again if each cup is around RM20 (US$5), you will be saving a lot monthly right? The rise of bubble milk teas is also thinning everyone's wallets, with each cup causing around RM10 to RM15. Unfortunately these beverages will never replace your balanced diet and such indulgence is actually just a luxury and not a necessity. Unless you are really, really loaded, avoid these luxury beverages.
There you have it folks, 7 ways on how to save money on food. By utilizing the tips and reminders mentioned above, I am sure you can cut down on your grocery bills and food expenses while dining out. Remember that we eat to live instead of live to eat for most of the time. Money that is spent unnecessarily on food which can be used for more meaningful purposes is a WASTE. Then again occasional indulgence on food is totally acceptable right?
You can still save money on food expenses while enjoying delicious and healthy food at home.
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