Spend Less on Food: No Fasting Required! 

Food. It’s a fact of life. Whether it’s grocery stores or restaurants you prefer to frequent, there’s no getting around the fact that food needs to be purchased and consumed. Whatever your taste, be it for filet mignon or hamburgers, oysters on the half-shell or frozen fish fingers, mangoes imported from Australia or locally-grown apples, you can easily cut down your food budget by adopting a few simple mindsets.

Save Money On Food: Smart Grocery Shopping 

Develop a habit of collecting coupons. Using coupons efficiently is key to cutting back on all kinds of expenditures – food, clothes and cosmetics alike. Try to stick with coupons that offer  value. It is believed that many stores promote a coupon for percentage discounts right after an increase in price on that particular item. Don’t avoid the percentage discount coupons completely, but be sure to stay on the ball about the weekly fluctuations in price of the items you like to buy at the stores you frequent.

Make a list of all necessary items before you go shopping at a store. Be as general as possible in your thinking. For example, write “vegetables” rather than “carrots”, “lettuce”, etc. You may not always find a particular vegetable at an acceptable price. On such occasions, consider taking advantage of a good deal on a different vegetable. And consider this: scientific research states that it is not necessarily true that expensive organic foods are the best for your health.

Don’t overshop: sticking to your list will ensure that you are not exceeding your budget. Restrain yourself from buying anything that is not on that list – even if it has been greatly reduced in price.

When grocery shopping, buy food for a whole week. Plan your meals before hitting the supermarket. Buy only the items that you need for those meals and refrain from purchasing things that you won’t need. Be careful about your selections. Your own choices play the biggest role in how much money you will spend or save.

Pre-packaged or already prepared foods of all kinds will cost you more. Companies with pre-packaged food products charge extra for the added convenience their products offer. Avoid pre-packaged salad mixes, microwaveable or oven-ready meals. Choose your own vegetables for your salads, or better yet, grow them in your own garden. You will be saving money at the same time you’re developing a new hobby.

Purchase spices and condiments in small quantities from bulk bins since you will need just a little for your meal preparation. They tend to lose their flavour after one or two years. Buying a large quantity, like a full jar, you may end up not using all of what you paid for – a waste of money.

There are some basic ingredients and products required to prepare nutritious meals. And you will always need staples such as nuts, olive oil, canned goods (tuna, beans, baked beans, canned spaghetti, etc.), pasta, and the like. Whenever possible, buy these in bulk and/or at a discounted price.  Always have potatoes on hand at home since there are so many different ways to enjoy eating them. You can mash, bake, stuff, roast, fry or grill them.

Recognising the correct way to purchase meats can save you money. Do you know that a whole raw chicken costs less per kilogram than boneless chicken pieces?  Buy whole chicken, cut it up yourself and use all the sections sensibly. Enjoy the boneless pieces however you wish, and prepare the other pieces in different ways. Drumsticks, wings and breasts can be served as fried chicken, for example. Look for bargains in the ground meat section. Ground beef can be used in a variety of delicious dishes like meatloaf, tacos, burgers and many more..

Buy seafood whenever it has been reduced in price. Seafood is an important part of anyone’s diet and should be consumed twice a week to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Frozen fish tends to be cheaper than fresh fish. However, buy fresh fish whenever possible as it is more healthful than frozen.

If you are a vegetarian, be conscientious about your protein consumption. Tofu is (if you are a clever cook), a perfect ingredient for a very reasonably-priced meal. Serve tofu rather than protein powders – it’s cheaper and more fun to eat!

Save Money On Food: Clever Cooking

If you rely on eating out in restaurants, STOP!

Michael Pollan states, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” Learn to cook your own meals and eat out only occasionally at restaurants, bars or food courts. An extra advantage of cooking your own meals is that you can create dishes from leftovers or staples you’ve got at home. This means that you can cook a delicious meal with fewer costly ingredients – which ends up being cheaper than eating in restaurants. Enjoy sumptuous meals that you can whip up without spending too much. With some practice, you might even come up with fun ways to create meals of gourmet-restaurant quality!

Read: Investing and Money Habits of Millennials

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).