Eliminating Food Expenses Helps Reach Your FI Goals — FIbyREI

Food costs can add up

When you think of your food budget, you may not feel like there is room to cut out expenses. After all, you eat your three meals a day and the costs just add up. Unfortunately, the costs do add up quickly. The average American household spends a total of $7,923 on food each year!

How to eliminate food expenses

Meal plan

If you plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll be less tempting to ‘pick something up’ after a long day. With a meal plan in place, you’ll be able to come home to a quick meal at a fraction of the cost.

Try the 2 dollar rule

Sticking to a monthly grocery budget can be difficult. After all, sometimes there is a sale on one of your staples and it makes sense to stock up. With the sales changing each month, it is likely that your grocery budget will swing up and down.

Try a new grocery store

Grocery store chains vary around the country in both price and quality. However, you likely know which grocery stores in your area are more expensive than others. For example, Publix is known for a great shopping experience but it comes at a price. On the other hand, ALDI is known for great prices and reasonably good food.

Learn to cook

If you are eating out every night because you don’t know how to cook, then you need to learn as soon as possible. The best part about learning how to cook is that it is much easier than you think it is. If in doubt, then try an InstaPot or Crockpot. Both are designed to help you keep your time in the kitchen to a minimum while creating great dishes.

Don’t starve yourself

If you are thinking of going on a diet in order to save on food costs, please don’t. You shouldn’t have to starve yourself to reach financial independence. Instead, find creative ways to reduce your food costs.

Cut back on restaurants

When you pay for a meal at a restaurant, you are paying for more than the cost of food. You are also paying for the staff that prepared and served it to you. You stand to save a significant amount of money if you start eating more meals at home. Even if you only eliminated one night out per week, those savings would add up quickly.

Eat your leftovers

Shockingly, many people are opposed to leftovers. While I understand the sentiment of not wanting to eat a meal several days in a row, it can be incredibly wasteful to toss your leftovers. If you can’t stand the thought of eating the same meal more than twice in one week, then simply freeze your leftovers to enjoy on another day.

How I’ve cut my food costs

We strive to keep our grocery bill to around $400 a month. Ubereats is the main culprit behind my high monthly food expenses. When I get busy with a new real estate project, I rationalize that it is quicker for me to order food than it is to shop, cook and sit down to eat. This always kills my food budget. I took the simple step of deleting the app to help eliminate food expenses in my budget. Then I have focused on making a meal plan, shopping in advance, and then trying to prep as much food as I can. In addition, I do a liquid breakfast. On days I run, its a simple green juice drink. And then on days when I lift weights, I do a recovery shake.

The bottom line

As you look for ways to eliminate the Big 5 expenses from your life, food is an easy place to start. Take time to focus on eliminating food expenses like eating out. Even small changes to your food consumption habits can compound to amazing savings in the future. Check out the next article in our FI series: https://fibyrei.com/optimizing-tax-expenses-is-critical/

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Andrew Kerr

Andrew Kerr

Host of “The House Hacking Podcast” and owner of www.FIbyREI.com