It’s funny what happens when you first start making a livable wage and can afford to buy things on your own. Doors that you may have never even thought about all of a sudden make themselves known, and open themselves up to you. These aren’t the usual proverbial doors that you hear so much about, these are special doors, delicious doors. These are the doors of going out and buying lunch during the week (celebration meme).
It’s bananas! You can eat whatever and wherever you want AND, to top it off, you don’t have to do anything other than getting it. It’s the best of both worlds!
At least, that’s what it sounds like, right? Turns out, it IS super-duper awesome for your taste buds, and your desire to eat all the delicious food stuffs, but it takes quite the toll on your wallet. Apparently buying lunch every day is a good way to spend many more dollars than you may wish to spend, who knew? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
(Side note: I feel like this should be a week-long section in every home economics class across the country. Let’s get on that, schools.)
Don’t worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a way to eat all the delicious food you want, and on a budget. Wanna check it out? Follow me:
HOME IS WHERE THE DELICIOUS FOOD IS
Cook at home. I know this may sound insane to some of you, but trust me, not only will it save you money, but cooking at home allows you to prepare your food to your liking, which comes into handy if you’re on a specific eating plan, or diet, or if you just like things to taste a certain way.
I get it though, cooking at home, like most everything else, is so much easier said than done. Or is it…?
PLAN YOUR MEALS
People often get into trouble with buying food when they don’t know what they’re doing for their next meal. It can be a trip to the convenience store to grab a few snacks, it can be a trip to a grocery store to buy ingredients to make a meal, or it can be grabbing something pre-made at that same grocery store. The problem is, doing this will cost you more than you think.
Buying ingredients for a one-off meal seems like it would be a pretty cheap endeavor, but in reality, if you need some onion, and some garlic, maybe some greens and a cut of meat/fish, it’ll add up fast and you’ll likely only get one meal out of it. But if you plan your meals ahead of time, and shop accordingly, the ingredients you purchase will go much further. Which brings me to my next point…
MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE
Once you’ve decided what meals you’re going to make, get yourself a piece of paper, list out the ingredients you’ll need, and – this part is important – STICK TO THE LIST. No more of this “Oh, a [insert food item here]! I’ll definitely eat that before it goes bad!” sequence of events. We all know how that ends and it’s not pretty.
Remember to follow the list and you’ll find yourself throwing away fewer unused food items, aka waste (operative word, ladies and gentlemen). You’ll no longer be buying an entire crown of broccoli, using 25% of it and watching the rest wilt until you give in a throw it away. You’ll have a plan for how to use it, and you will.
You now have everything you’ll need for a week’s worth of meals, and you (presumably) have an idea for what meals you want to make. All that’s left for you to do is get down to it. Cook away, young padawan, enjoy your home-cooked goodness, and feel the strain release your wallet from its clutches.
Long gone are the days when all of your disposable income mysteriously disappears to the local Chipotle, or Sweet Green. A new leaf has turned and you are now the master of your food budget. Take that development and make the most out of it – think of all the cool things you can spend money on now! Even if you want to reallocate the money you have saved toward food, the quality of food you’ll be able to buy, not to mention the quantity, will make your head spin. Enjoy it. It’s a wild world out there.
SO, WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
I know what youre thinking, “This is all great, but I don’t know what to make…”. Welp, the good news is, our very good friends over at Slice have not one, but two blog posts to help you out, and, oh look at that! So do Real Simple, and Southern Living.
Give ‘em a looksee. Your family, friends and taste buds will thank you.
Until next time – smells delicious in here