The idea of eating cheaply is often associated with the images of cabinets full of $1 box macaroni and cheese and Ramen. With rising food costs, rents, and mortgages, and fuel prices, none of us really want to revisit the diet of the 20-something broke college student. Or we don’t want to be that student. It doesn’t matter what stage of your life you are in, you do not have to eat like that just to save money.
Flavored Coffee is Better at Home
Maybe you are the Starbucks junkie that just can’t let go of their pumpkin spice lattes. Or maybe you just miss donut shop coffees that come in a multitude of flavors. Whichever one you are, you can still have “fancy” coffee as long as you are willing to make it at home. Most coffee lovers already make coffee at home. You can spice up your flavors by trying out almond (orgeat) syrup or a flavored creamer. Since most coffee made at home costs less than a $1 per day, you will save tons of money and can enjoy your fancy coffee more often when you do make it at home
Generic vs Name Brand
Name brands are often positioned right at eye level with the generic versions just above or below your favorite product. If you haven’t made the switch yet, try the generic versions of your favorite cereals, soups, and juices. Most generics are made by the companies that supply your same name brands you are used to. And most generics are $1-$2 less in cost. In some cases, even more.
Coupon Your Heart Out
Clipping coupons may sound like something Mom or Grandma did, but people are still doing it to this day. Many of these families are able to save significant amounts of money by doing so. It’s no small feat, you will need to invest your time into the endeavor. You have to learn your stores’ couponing policies and where to find the best coupons. Many can be printed from online, saving you the need to purchase the Sunday paper. We highly recommend you research couponing before you start.
You may think your grocery stores are all the same, but they aren’t. Compare prices at all of your local chains, including Walmart, and see which ones offer you the best. I was surprised to learn that Walmart, the store with the reputation of being the cheapest in town, actually costs more to shop at for groceries. The other thing to do is compare locations. What a lot of people don’t know is that grocery stores in rural areas tend to be higher priced due to transportation costs and lack of competition. Also, in higher populated areas, you are more likely to see stores that specialize in “half-priced” foods. These are foods rejected at the grocery store before they are taken off the truck for a variety of reasons. These specialty stores buy what’s left at a deep discount so that the trucker can pick up another load and offer those discounts to you. Be advised that if you shop at places like this, avoid dented cans, watch for expiration dates, and be careful with produce as they often go bad quicker.
You can eat well on a budget. You just have to know where to look and stop relying on Ramen and macaroni and cheese to get you by. Look for those Starbucks savings secrets and eat the way you want to without breaking the bank.
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