How I Cut Down On Food Expenses

By | March 13, 2009

I eat out frequently and I have noticed that I have spent a lot of money on food. In 2008, I spent more than $8,300 on food-related items (including drinks and dining out), and this is only for one person. I thought that I should cut down on my food expenses. I went to the supermarket and went food shopping. I came home with many bags of groceries. I prepared sandwiches at home and brought them to work over the next 10 work days.

In the morning at work, I usually buy breakfast from a deli and would pay $3 for an egg-and-meat sandwich. Now, I could prepare the same sandwich at home for a fraction of the cost.

In the afternoon, I would buy lunch in different food places and spend around $10 for a meal. Now, I could prepare a sandwich that would cost much less.

My Groceries Bill from Pathmark

My Grocery Bill from Pathmark

My Bags of Groceries

My Bags of Grocery

My fridge stocked up with grocery

My fridge stocked up with grocery

Bread for My Sandwiches

Bread for My Sandwiches

A sandwich I prepared for work

A sandwich I prepare for work

My Breakfast / Lunch Savings for 10 Days
Average Cost for Breakfast: $3
Average Cost for Lunch: $10

10 Days’ Cost for Breakfast: 10 days x $3 / day = $30
10 Days’ Cost for Lunch: 10 days x $10 / day = $100

10 Days Total Cost: $130
Cost of Groceries: $55.85

Net Savings for 10 Days = $74.15

Long Term Savings
The savings will add up over the long term. If I can save $74.15 in 10 days, I can save $741.50 in 100 days. And in one year, I can save approximately $2,706.

I have done this savings only for breakfast and lunch. If I decide to cook my own dinner, I could extend my savings even further.

My Statement

The brown bag lunch concept has worked out pretty well in terms of money savings. Many of my coworkers bring lunch to work on a daily basis and they have saved a significant amount of money over the years. But when I asked several people why they bring lunch to work, I learned that the main reason is not just to save money. Surprisingly, the primary reason to brown bag lunch is because lunch from home is much more healthy than lunch from “outside.” In addition to eating healthy, they also happen to save money, thus killing two birds with one stone.

The only downside to this brown bag lunch concept is that I get tired of eating the same sandwiches after a while. But this is mainly because I have limited cooking skills. Once I become more creative in making better lunches, I believe this brown bag concept will work out well in the long term. I can see myself preparing and brown bagging tastier meals which will be beneficial to my health, and at the same time,  save money, which will be beneficial to my wealth.

6 thoughts on “How I Cut Down On Food Expenses

  1. Pingback: How I Cut Down On Food Expenses | Growing Money

  2. Meg from FruWiki

    Good for you!

    Consider trying wraps. A flavored tortilla can really refresh an old sandwich recipe — and even inspire some new ingredients.

    Also, you might look into bento box recipes. Don’t be intimidated by some of the more creative recipes, there are a lot of bento recipes that are easy to make. And since they’re meant to be eaten away from home, good bento recipes are designed with transport and food safety in mind.

  3. Donnie

    This is what I do sometimes:

    I’ll make a batch of pasta. I’ll also open a can of peas or corn. I have these 2-compartment lunch containers and I’ll put the pasta in one (add sauce) and the vegetable in the other compartment, then freeze them. Then I’ll have some ready made meals that just need to be microwaved for a couple minutes. Also, since it’s frozen, I don’t have to eat it right away, so I can get some variation.

    Burritos are another food that freezes well. I’ll get a can of re-fried beans, add taco seasoning, then cook it. Spread it on a tortilla, add some cheese, and then freeze. Extremely cheap and easy.

    As the previous commenter stated, wraps are an excellent idea. I got a pack of tomato basil wraps from Wal-mart, added grilled chicken strips, lettuce and tomatoes, and it was awesome.

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