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An article published on CheatSheet.com revealed that a family of four would need an estimate of $58,000 each year to live comfortably. That is around $4,833 each month. The sad thing is, the median income in the country is $52,000. That means the majority of American households are a couple of thousand dollars short. Those under the poverty level earn $24,000 a year and that puts them at a huge disadvantage when it comes to their household budget.
The good news is, there are many ways that you can save on your household expenses. You just have to know what you are willing to sacrifice in order to stay within your budget.
One of the areas that you can save on is your food budget. In fact, there is a study that reveals how you can save a lot of money each month on food – and it does not involve what you spend while grocery shopping.
Stop dining out so you can lower your monthly expenses at home
One article from Yahoo.com revealed how the prices of food served at home and those in US restaurants have increased since 2014. Based on the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of serving food at home increased by 0.6% in May – compared to 12 months before. That is a relatively small increase if you compare it to the 3% increase of eating out.
According to the article, if you really want to save on your household expenses, you need to start using your kitchen more often. You need to start eating at home – and not take out. You need to start cooking your meals from scratch and eat them at home because that will save you more money in your budget.
Based on the details provided in the USDA.gov, in May of 2015, the total food expenses that were served at home reached $60.1 billion. In comparison, the food served in restaurants reached $62.5 billion. We are spending a lot more by eating out. Since the increase in food served at home is lower than those served away from home, you will realize just how big the saving will be if you keep on eating in your house.
Here are some benefits that you will get if you start eating at home – at least, benefits that go beyond what you will save on your household expenses.
- You can sharpen your cooking skills. What better way to be an expert in cooking than by practicing it at home? Cooking is something that everyone can do – as long as you have the patience and the determination to learn, you can cook meals for your family. Of course, your first attempts might leave a lot to be desired but you will get better in time. That is for certain.
- You can choose what your family will eat. Another benefit is you get to choose what you will feed your family. When you eat out, everyone can choose from the menu. You can argue so they will choose healthier meals but why go through all that? When you feed them at home, they are forced to eat what you put on the table.
- You can eat healthy meals. Speaking of healthy meals, you can guarantee that everything that you put in your plate is healthy. From the cooking oil to the seasoning and all the ingredients – all of these will be something that you have chosen. If your spouse needs to lower their cholesterol, you can control what they eat by choosing carefully what you will use in every meal.
There are other financial benefits that you will get when you start eating at home. You can save on gas because you do not have to drive to the restaurant just to eat. You do not have to leave a tip. You can do other things while you are cooking too. It saves you money and time.
If that is not enough reason to eat at home, then what is?
Tips to save on your food expenses at home
Among all your household expenses, what you spend on food is something that you can fully control. It is very easy to cut down on food costs compared to your other expenses. You do not have to take drastic measures in order to save. You can keep your family full and healthy and still save a lot on your expenses. Unlike subscriptions, you do not have to fully terminate their services in order to lower your spending. You just have to implement the right tips that will allow you to maximize what you can save on your food costs. Here are some things that you can do.
- Consolidate your shopping schedules. There is much to gain when you consolidate your shopping schedule. You get to save your time. You also get to save on gas. It just takes a bit more planning in order to pull this off but that is more beneficial for you than you know. When you are forced to plan, you get to take more time before you make purchases. You get to think about what you will buy and it makes you think more of how much you are willing to spend. It is easier to budget your household expenses if you have less shopping schedules.
- Buy in bulk. Since you will be having less shopping schedules, you will be forced to buy in bulk. This is a good thing because you generally pay less per piece if you buy them in huge quantities. Companies usually price bulk items cheaper because they want you to buy more of their products. So if you want to save money on your food expenses, you need to start thinking about buying in bulk. Just be careful to buy only what you know you can consume before the expiration date. If you are buying a month’s worth of bananas, for instance, not all of them should be ripe. That way, the other bananas will have more time before they are overripe. Remember this when buying your produce.
- Plan your meals. Since you have a shopping schedule and you will be buying in bulk, it is very important to plan your meals. If you will buy in bulk, you can plan to have chicken meals for one whole week. Research recipes so you will know what ingredients you can buy in bulk. It will not only help you save on household expenses, it will also allow you to save time – since you already know what you will buy in the store. It will also help you stick to your budget. If it is not on the list, then do not buy it – or at least, think twice before you proceed with that purchase.
- Use cash when making purchases. If you want to stick to your budget, it is very helpful to use cash during your shopping errands. Put your money in an envelope and bring that with you. It is your choice if you want to bring your credit card in case of emergencies. If you decide to bring it, make sure that you can control yourself to keep from using it for unnecessary expenses.
These tips will really help you with your household budget. If you want more tips, here is a video from the Inside Edition about a frugal mom. She gives us tips on how you can save money on your usual expenses.