Food is an essential need for the human body. That’s why it’s common for us to allocate about 10-15% of our take-home pay to food for if you a budget meal planner.
But the popularity of GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and other food delivery services have made it very easy to go over this budget.
I know what you might be thinking. “I’m a queen, and I deserve to eat like one!” And I agree!
Though it’s possible to cut ordering takeout from your food budget entirely, I wouldn’t suggest doing so since we all have our cravings. Even I need some Qdoba every once in a while.
But ordering takeout often can really hurt your wallet over time. It’s a stressor that any budget meal planner will have to worry about.
That’s why you need to know these five simple tips to save your money while satisfying your cravings.
1. Subscription boxes
For some of us, going to the supermarket just brings too much temptation. I mean, how can you control yourself from all those goods just lining the aisles?
I mean, how many times have we gone to the supermarket to grab an item or two and left with a full cart and a feeling of regret?
Hey, it’s not entirely on us, Sis! After all, supermarkets are designed to get you to spend more than you have to.
Instead, signing up for a subscription service can be a great way to have the food and ingredients you need delivered right to your doorstep.
Some of them, like Butcher Box, even offer customized packages if you have, or are feeding someone with, very specific tastes.
The beauty of these subscription boxes is that some of them, like Imperfect Foods, work directly with farmers and suppliers. Essentially, this eliminates the “middleman” costs and will get you what you need at a more affordable price.
They also take out a lot of the “hidden costs” of grocery shopping. For example, last minute impulse buys and the cost of transportation to the supermarket.
Overall, they’re an excellent option for anyone looking for a new way to get their groceries.
2. Buy in bulk
You might think that buying in bulk is just not worth it for the most part. After all, you’d be spending more upfront if you were to do so. But when you really think about it, there are many benefits to buying some of your groceries in big batches.
When you buy in bulk, you pay less per unit, which adds up over the course of a year. You’re more prepared in the event of an emergency, and you’re even producing less waste.
The upfront cost may be higher, but over time you’ll find that this method of grocery shopping is more cost-effective.
Buying your groceries in bulk means you have to go to the supermarket less, cutting down on hidden costs like transportation, taxes, and other fees.
This shopping strategy is one that every budget meal planner must know.
Note that this isn’t a sign for you to go out and buy everything in bulk. When doing this, make sure you’re buying items that won’t spoil quickly, like pasta, rice, butter, coffee, and canned goods.
If you choose to buy milk, eggs, and produce in bulk, you’ll only end up with a bunch of spoiled food and an emptier wallet.
3. Order more during takeout
This may sound strange at first, but hear me out.
If you already know that you’re in for a tough week and feel like you’re gonna be ordering more food from your favorite restaurant to cope, then order everything at once and then store everything else in the fridge for later.
This little trick saves me quite a bit over a year.
Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down:
Say you were to make three separate orders of the same sandwich from Subway, which costs $12 before tax. With delivery (~$2), service charge (~$1.40), tax (~$0.60), and a tip (~$2), that totals to about $18 a sandwich, $54 in total.
But if you order all three sandwiches at once, you only have to pay about $46, eight dollars less than you might have had to!
That’s because you only have to pay a single delivery fee, a single service charge, and tip a single delivery person. If you’re a meal planner on a budget, this is something you’ve got to try!
4. Don’t throw away those leftovers just yet!
One time, I booked a Grub Hub from a restaurant that I had never tried before.
I had no idea that the serving would be so big that I just had to store it in my fridge because I could not for the life of me finish it all in a single sitting.
The next day, I took the leftovers, added some rice, seasoning and had myself a brand new meal!
Last night’s leftovers don’t have to be a waste. There are many dishes that you can cook with leftover food with just a bit of time, extra ingredients, and creativity.
As long as it hasn’t spoiled yet, then it’s still good!
Additionally, stretching out a single takeout order into two different meals also means that you’re getting more for your dollar.
5. Discounts, coupons, and deals
Discount codes and coupons are some of the best ways to shave a few extra dollars off your order if you’re a meal planner on a budget. There are a lot of ways to get them, such as through cnet and Thrillist.
Another way you can find deals on restaurants is through Groupon. You’ll find discounts and deals on local eating establishments no matter your budget. A lot of them even offer curbside pickup.
And those are five simple ways you can decrease your food spending as a meal planner on a budget.
With these tips, you’ll be able to increase your monthly spending on food and live the life you deserve to live, queen.
But the best way to increase your monthly budget is to eliminate things like debt. Getting out of debt isn’t easy, though.
You can watch thousands of Youtube videos and read countless articles on the topic, but the best way to approach paying off your debt would be to learn from someone who’s already dealt with it– someone like me!
Sign up for my text waitlist today and receive personal finance tips, special offers, and other freebies every week.
I’d love to see your name there!