We spend a lot of money on food. We have to eat, but we LOVE to eat. We celebrate with food. We console ourselves and others with food. We reward ourselves with food. We eat because we are happy, we're sad, we're excited, we're angry and sometimes because we're hungry.
In fact we spend about 13% of our income on food. For an average American earning about $63,000 pre-tax, the cost of food is about $6400/year. That divides into 60% spent on groceries and the other 40% spent on food away from home. (Source: http://www.creditloan.com/infographics/how-the-average-consumer-spends-their-paycheck/)
Out of every $100 spent on food, $40 is spent in restaurants or on fast food. That's awful. Though we spend a lot of money on food every year, the good news is that there are lots of ways to save on food costs—in and out of the kitchen. The easiest way to reduce food spending is to spend more time eating at home.
What's going on? Many people are pressed for time. We're all busy. It's easier to pick up something on the way home from work so that hungry family members can be fed as soon as possible. This is a solution but an extremely costly one. Isn't there another way to solve this problem? We're happy to tell you that there is.
We have a few words to say on this topic: meal planning, "pre"pared groceries, bulk cooking, meal exchange groups, and meal assembly groups. There are costs to many of these ideas but they still offer savings over eating out.
But, chances are even if you eat at home more often there will still be times that you want to eat out. We don't want to spoil all your fun so we want to give you a few tips to help you lower your restaurant bill the next time you head out to your favorite restaurant.
- Look for coupons online
- Purchase an "Entertainment Book" that has coupons for restaurants in your area.
- Look for restaurants that offer a free meal on your birthday.
- Use a "buy one, get one free" coupon.
- Check out the restaurant "specials".
- Dine out for lunch instead of dinner.
- Order an appetizer as your entree.
- Share an entree with a friend.
- Order from the kid's menu (if they allow it).
- Just go out for a favorite dessert instead of a meal.
- Skip the high-priced drinks.
We spend a lot of money on food but we don't have to be held hostage by our food bill. With a little planning we can save time and money in the kitchen. And don't forget the many ways there are to lower your restaurant bills.
P.S. The seventh chapter of our personal finance book: Power Spending: Getting More For Less, is about Food Saving. There are three sections: Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping and Eating out/dining in. We teach you to plan ahead so that you can save time but still provide healthy meals for your family at a reasonable price. We have hundreds of tips for you to use that will save you money when you grocery shop, cook, order in or dine out. It's all about planning, preparing, spending (better) and saving.