It’s absolutely insane to think about the fact that 2017 is just two weeks away. With the year officially coming to an end, many reflect on their budgets to see where and how they can save in the new year. What so many people don’t realize is that the biggest category people overspend on is food! 45% of respondents to the November 2016 Principal Financial Well-Being Index pointed the finger at food when asked what they blew their budget on this year. Eating out can be a huge wallet drainer in addition to your morning coffee pitstop. Here are a few things to apply in the new year to help save you a few bucks here and there that’ll add up to be quite a small fortune by this time next year!
When eating out…
It’s all about the specials!
So many restaurants offer happy hours or specials on slower nights of the week. Take advantage of these deals to save a few dollars every now and then! You can also always browse sites like Groupon or Living Social that list plenty of restaurants deals in your area.
BYOB is magical
Drinks can get obscenely pricey when you’re eating out which tends to rack up the bill. For those nights where a glass of water just isn’t refreshing enough, bring your favorite bottle of vino (if allowed by the restaurant) and clink your glasses to saving you some money!
Be your own barista
You can add another skill to your bragging list after you perfect your perfect cup of coffee right in the comfort of your own home. Say sayonara to those annoying lines at the coffee shop and barista that always seems to somehow mess up your order. Apart from saving yourself $5 on a cup of coffee (that isn’t nearly as delicious and perfect as your own masterpiece), you also just saved yourself a little morning headache.
When shopping for groceries…
Adios pre-packaged foods!
You know those delightful little packs of precut veggies, or sandwiches, or salads… or just about anything? Just look away and walk right past them on your next grocery shopping visit. As convenient as these packages are, labor was involved so the prices are hiked up. Take a little extra time to cut up vegetables yourself and make your own sandwich. I bet your sandwich will taste 200 times better that the store bought one PLUS you can add some of that extra meat and still save money.
Scan that loyalty card
Many big name supermarket chains have loyalty rewards programs for their shoppers. It takes a second for you to sign up in store and a millisecond for the cashier to scan your little key fob before ringing you up. Get all the discounts on deals happening in store and rack up rewards points while you’re at it too!
Sometimes Costco or BJ’s is not your best friend
We totally understand that rush of excitement you get when you buy the things you need in bulk at these wholesale clubs. But most of the time, half of the items you buy go sitting in your house untouched for weeks… sometimes months! This is especially wasteful for perishable grocery items you buy in bulk and never get around to eating. Just think how much money you’re literally throwing away when those items go bad and you have to toss them! As tempting as it may be, avoid buying bulk groceries if you know you can’t finish before the expiration date, and instead buy a smaller portion at your local supermarket.