We’ve all been here: You went grocery-shopping on your designated day (or multiple days), you’ve bought all the healthy items (around the perimeter of the grocery store, of course), and stayed within your budget.
However, after a long morning work meeting, after a long day at work, and/or a long week, it’s finally Friday…
…yet, you do not want to cook or eat what you’ve brought to work for lunch, and you fall back into the habit of eating out and burning through your budget.
How can you solve this problem? How can you save your money and eat the groceries you’ve worked so hard to afford? See the helpful tips below:
1. Become a Meal Prep Expert
Yes, meal prepping is vital to helping you save money and eating at home! Do you have an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or (my favorite) an air fryer?? Set aside some time on a Sunday, or other day, and prep all your meats, sauces, and produce!
Also, invest in some useful meal-prep containers and remember to freeze your food! Put on one of your favorite podcasts or your favorite musical artist and go to town in your own kitchen. I promise, it’s fun!
2. Learn New, Tasty Recipes
During the pandemic and quarantine, I’ve invested in a few different cookbooks and subscribed to new cooking YouTube channels. Sometimes you just need to “spice up” (no pun intended) your go-to dinner items.
I started a ketogenic/low-carb way of eating and I’ve been having so much fun learning and experimenting with new recipes. Make sure that the recipes are fun, easy (cause we’re boss ladies, with little time), and tasty!
Try to challenge yourself to try 1-2 new recipes a week! Your rolodex of recipes will increase!
3. Don’t Rule Out Convenient Meals
This tip has saved me so many times. What about those days where you don’t have energy or time to cook, but really want to stick with your “eat your groceries” mindset: convenient meals!
Do not rule out the frozen TV dinners in the frozen aisle, or those quick and easy microwavable Easy Mac dinners!
Are they the healthiest option? That is debatable. Will you save money by eating those instead of ordering from GrubHub or UberEat? Absolutely!
*Pro tip* Always add a few of these to your grocery list. And don’t forget you can buy frozen veggies and fruit!
4. Make a Big Dinner and Eat Leftovers for Lunch the Next Day
When I was working in an office, this was also a saving grace for me. I love pasta, and those are very easy recipes.
I always make a family-style batch, even though I live alone! I was known to bring in spaghetti, chicken and broccoli alfredo, and angel hair pasta as leftovers at least twice a week at work!
Now for some reason, some people are very anti-leftovers…this is not the case at City Girl Savings, we very much encourage our community to utilize and maximize your weekly groceries.
Get creative with your leftovers and create new recipes with those!
5. Review Your ‘Eating Out’ Budget Each Month
This was it for me, personally. Once you review just how much you’ve spent on eating out, takeout order, delivery services, you WILL change your habits and eat at home…
This is especially true if you spend a lot of money eating out and you’re still buying weekly groceries.
Ask yourself, how many times have you thrown out fresh vegetables and/or fruit because you didn’t eat it fast enough? I have thrown out full containers of strawberries, avocados (I cried), and onions…it’s not fun.
Once you see just how much money you’ll save by cooking (prepping or microwaving) your own food, you’ll be so proud of yourself. Not just of the money you’re saving, but the new recipes and skills you’ll gain!
Now, here at CGS we do not discourage you from enjoying life. We’re human and we love a nice social outing just like everyone else.
However, we are also of the mindset that you can do everything—but do so in balance and within budget.
Develop these good habits and watch your savings (and personal cookbook) grow!
How have you saved money in your eating out budget? Let us know!