Food and drinks are an interesting struggle when trying to save money. Everyone eats, multiple times throughout the day, and there is no way of getting around it. I find that, especially as a working adult, it is incredibly easy to fall into the habit of skipping breakfast, grabbing a quick lunch, then picking up a late dinner. Not only is this a really unhealthy way to live, it’s also very expensive! Here are a few ways to improve your diet AND your bank account when it comes to your day-to-day dining:
Always, Always, ALWAYS Pack your Lunch
Remember when you were a kid and wanted hot lunch every day? Your mother said no of course, and told you to pack your own lunch. Well, the office cafe is the grown-up equivalent to your school’s cafeteria, so use the same logic your mother did, and don’t waste your money on overpriced mediocre food! Packing a lunch is something that takes about five minutes, and can save you hundreds of calories and dollars over the course of a year.
Before you start your week, sit down and plan out what days you’ll be home, what meals you’d like to make, and what you need to buy to make those meals. Not only will this stop you from picking up pricy take-out dinners, but it will stop you from over-buying at the grocery! Bonus points if you pick recipes that use food that you already have!
Make Your Own Specialty Drinks
Ah, if I had a dollar for every time I pulled over at a Starbucks . . . or maybe $5, for that matter! Coffee and tea drinks have some of the highest markups of all consumables, as well as tons of hidden sugars and calories. Starbucksrecipes.org has quite a few recipes of the favorite Starbucks indulgences, and a quick Google search can find you pretty much any other recipe people have discovered for make-your-own gourmet coffee.
Split Meals Out
Sometimes, eating out is unavoidable – but don’t worry, there are still ways to stay within your mealtime budget! If you’re going with friends, split a meal, as well as the cost and the calories! If you’re out with a group that you aren’t comfortable splitting food with (co-workers or something a bit more professional), don’t be afraid to order off of the appetizer menu – an appetizer is often far cheaper and better proportioned than the huge entrees that restaurants offer.
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