It’s the beginning of a new year! It’s time to assess how the last year went, make some changes, and begin some new habits. Let’s learn the habit of cutting back.
It’s a no brainer that the prices of everything are going up: Gas, water, electric. Groceries are almost double! How much did you spend on food last year? It’s our biggest expense. Get your credit card statement online and check out the annual summary of what you paid for everything for the year. You will be amazed at where your money went.
Let’s cut back on food expenses. Eating at home is healthier and cheaper than eating out. We can learn to be disciplined in cutting back. Cutting back is going to save us some money and help us grow in other areas as well.
Start making your meals at home and stop paying out the nose for convenience. Oh, I know. I would rather eat out than fix a meal at home. I don’t like to cook, and I’m not that good at it, but I also know that I’m not going to throw away my retirement to McDonalds or Chipotle either. A Red Lobster meal for two is almost $100 now, if you like lobster. Who can afford that? Why would you pay that, unless you ARE retired and it’s part of your retirement plan, lol. But you’d be amazed at how full all these restaurants are these days. It seems like everyone is eating out.
Let’s start cutting back by making our own meals at home with our families. Begin by creating a meal plan for each week. Sit down on the day before you go to the grocery and plan out what you will fix for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next week. Check the sale flyer of the grocery store and plan your meals around those sale items. Make a list. Print off some recipes from a cookbook or online food sites. Then make another list of the items you will need from the store. Stick to the list when you go shopping. Buy only those things you need and try to find those items on sale. Every little bit helps. Check out my blog post on couponing if you need help with even more savings.
You’ll find that making a meal plan may help on cutting back on your gasoline bill too. When you have a list for the week, you won’t need to make unexpected trips to the grocery because you “forgot” something on your last trip.
Stick to the Plan
Put your menu on the fridge where you can see it. Don’t cave when you get home, tired, from work. It’s easy to want to just chuck the menu and run through the drive thru when you are running on empty or running the kids where they need to go, but don’t do it, stick to the plan.
Try choosing a day when you will do meal prep. There is nothing worse than letting food go bad in the fridge. Wash up the fruits and veggies. Cut things up for the family to snack on throughout the week.
There’s also a benefit when the family sits at the table to eat a meal together. You get to talk to each other and learn what’s going on in each others lives. Some great conversations happen at the table. Eating at home is also a great way to teach your children how to cook, prep and help with the dishes. –A win-win for everyone!
Keep track of your savings. Shove the money you used to spend on eating out into your retirement account or start one if you don’t have one. (I’m amazed at how many people don’t save for retirement, but that’s another post.) Save the eating out for special events like an anniversary dinner or birthday.
It’s a new year to begin new habits! Be disciplined. Thanks for following along.