The Cost of Eating Out
As a nation, we eat out between four to five times per week on average. This equates to 18 times in an average month.
When compared to preparing meals at home, there is a lot of money involve here. The average cost of having a meal at home is under $2.00 per person. (LINK)
On average, Americans would save over $36 per week by preparing meals at home.
Health issues are also a concern with eating out. The average calories in a main course at a restaurant come in at around 1,900 and salt intake around 2,300 mg. (LINK)
That is a whole days worth of food for an average adult. If you continue this practice of overeating, you could develop health issues.
How Grocery Stores Create Impulse Buys
Many retailers bring in consultants and even psychologists to design store layouts to sway customers into making poor spending decisions. (LINK)
They set up displays in the front of the store to get you into the frame of mind to shop. Then as you walk farther into the store you smell the scents from the bakery department or the deli.
They position staples like milk or eggs in the back of the store so you have to pass by the canned goods and boxed goods to get to them. The check outs are in the front of the store so you have to pass by those items again to pay for your purchases.
A definitive shopping list and a set of blinders on your eyes can help you avoid these temptations.
Creating a Grocery Shopping List
A good rule of thumb is to make a menu for at least a week at a time, longer if you can. I suggest you list this menu in the upper right hand corner of your list, with all the needed ingredients and side dishes down the left side of your paper, so as not to forget a needed item.
Also list some snacks and desserts to prevent unplanned shopping trips. To be successful you must stick to this list. You will find you do not waste food, it is all accounted for in your menu.
General Tips For Saving Money on Foods
Develop a good coupon program and check these after you have made your list. Digital coupons are getting very prevalent but remember these are usually loss leaders, just there to get you into the store and possibly buy impulse items.
Usually store brands or generic items are less expensive than brand names, but not always. Position of store brands and generics are usually lower than eye level. Consider Target with their “Cartwheel” app offers and other discounts if these are convenient. Stock up when staples or meats are a really great offer.
Buy a freezer if you can for the meats and frozen items. Make home cooking fun and when you can, make enough for a 2nd or 3rd meal, leftovers are super easy to prepare with hardly any clean up.
When you prepare your own meals, you know who cooked them and with practice and research you can make you dishes taste better then restaurant food.
Keep the money in your pocket and enjoy meals you make yourself.