Monday, April 19, 2010

Saving on Food Makes for a Financial Feast

So I will admit that over the past several years I have been quite fortunate in the sense that the money was not a huge worry for me; I always knew that I had enough money to buy my next meal. And while I don't think that I am ungrateful for my situation, I definitely think that the availability of food has made me a bit more complacent than I'd like to be.

That said, I decided that I could accomplish some real goals with regard to money if I changed my habits toward food:

1. I want to stop eating out of convenience so much. This will require planning.
2. I want to reduce the amount of food that I waste. A recent trip through my canned goods revealed nearly 20 dollars of completely wasted food. The picture here is just a sample!

3. I want to start eating healthier foods. I think that in the end, this will force me to eat more vegetables which should actually reduce the costs of my lunches (see goal 1).

My plan is not to commit to any specific goals, but simply to try to chew on some basic tactics:

1. Instead of buying chips at lunch, buy a big variety bag of chips and eat one each day. This should save about 50 cents per bag total and also reduce calorie consumption.
2. Instead of eating all lunches out, cut back at least one meal per week to eat in the office with food brought from home.
3. Instead of eating all breakfasts out, begin to bring food/coffee from home to reduce costs.
4. Instead of buying snacks with lunch, buy a package of snacks and bring from home.
5. Similarly, I will attempt to pre-cook/prepare meals at home and bring leftovers to work to reduce wasted food.

Total Cost of Eating at work (Note I work in a populous North Eastern US City):
1.29 snack
6.50 avg. Lunch
3.00 avg Breakfast.

About 10.75 each day for food. Some days less, but this is about the average. And since this is about food, I won't even mention transportation costs. Both categories eat up tons of money and the service is totally consumed! This is insane!

So, even if I can cut this back by about 1/2 on average each week, that should save 20-25 dollars per week. And over a full year of 48 weeks, that could be 1200 dollars without changing habits all that much. It may not seem like much, but when many of the other key items have been done, and guaranteed returns are hard to find for investments, 1200 dollars to me seems like a feast!

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