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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Top 5(+1) List For Overcoming Food Budget Anxiety - A Few Tips To Save Money

Senseo HD7810/65 Single Serve Coffee Machine, BlackFood budgeting is an odd thing. It's relatively easy to sit down and make out a budget for your monthly food bill, but its altogether much harder to actually follow it. I've found that I just cannot stick to my budget most of the time if I just set a dollar value. It's frustrating, and every time I go to the grocery store, I get kind of anxious about whether I should buy this or buy that item.

However, if I look at my budget from a different point of view, I get better results. Instead of just trying to meet my monthly food spending limit, I try to divide this number by approximately $30 days. Let's say my budget is $120/m for ALL types of meals, including a night out at a restaurant and eating lunch at the company cafeteria. Then I cannot spend more than $120/30 d = $4/d, on average. Ask yourself, can you possibly get by on $4/d for 3 meals? Can you come up with ways to reduce the cost of each meal you consume?

Your answer is probably an immediate "no". But consider whether or not achieving this goal matters to you. If you can afford to spend more than $120/m on food and meals, and have no motivation to stay within a budget, you probably will spend more. But if you are willing to develop some discipline to achieve this goal, then you can probably manage. Here are some suggestions, in no particular order. Many of these, you won't like at first, but could probably get used to. Others you'll have no problem with.

  1. Stop drinking coffee in the morning, unless you brew it yourself at home. Many coffee-makers can make a cup of coffee in 30 seconds, or be programmed to start brewing at a certain time each morning. Your coffee'll be ready before you are.
  2. If you're used to going out for lunch on a working day, try taking a sandwich to work at least 2-3 times a week. To keep it interesting, try a couple of different types of bread or wraps. (Freeze any bread that you don't use right away, and use it later for things such as French toast.)
  3. Reduce the amount of meat that you use in each dish. In many Asian and European countries, meat is an accent, not the main ingredient. By decreasing the meat and increasing the quantity of vegetables and even broth, you not only reduce the cost of the meal, but you make it generally healthier.
  4. Stretch your dollar by buying a "family pack" of ground beef, or better yet, chicken or turkey. When you get home, portion off the meat into one- or two-person servings, place the portions in freezer bags, and freeze all but what you plan to eat for a day or two. When you're out of thawed meat, take a bag out of the freezer in the morning, and place it in the fridge. (It's a bad idea to leave it on the kitchen counter all day.) To further reduce your costs, if you happen to have lots of space in the freezer portion of your fridge, or fortunate enough to have a separate freezer unit, consider buying meat in bulk from your local butcher. There are more and more small businesses open to the public that will butcher as little as a 1/4 side of beef or what have you, and cut it/grind it to your specifications. Some will even deliver. What's more, some sell only free-range meat, which hasn't been injected with all kinds of hormones harmful to humans and animals.
  5. Try making your own soups at home. Put in lots of nutritious ingredients such as vegetables and beans/legumes (which are high in protein). Use a small portion of meat and cut it into small pieces. Alternatively, spoon in a few dabs of ground meat for mini-meatballs.
And finally, one last tip, which I suspect may have the most opposition:
  • Reduce the amount of food you eat. I'm not telling you to go hungry. But the honest truth is that many of us have very busy lives and we eat on the run, or just quickly. This means we aren't chewing our food; we end up swallowing chunks of it. These chunks are probably going to sit in your belly improperly digested. I won't get into it here, but this in turn promotes all manner of bad health. Try this: the next time you eat something, anything, close your mouth and chew very slowly. Chew at least 20-30 times per bite. Initially, this is very frustrating and your temptation will be to swallow before chewing fully. So keep trying this consciously. Nutrients from food, to be properly absorbed into our bodies, need to be pre-digested by saliva as much as possible. What's more, when you do chew slowly, you'll find that your body/belly tells you that it's not so hungry after as little as half your normal food intake. If you can manage to discipline yourself to chew every bite of every meal slowly, you could effectively reduce your food bill by half, absorb more nutrients than you are right now, and find yourself slimming down because of the reduction in calories.
Is any of this motivation enough for you, to reduce your monthly food bill and improve your health? Note: As always, before changing your diet drastically, please consult your doctor or alternative health practitioner.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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About me

  • I'm blogslinger
  • From Canada
  • Writer, author, former magazine editor and publisher, amateur photog, amateur composer, online writer/ blogger, online publisher, freelancer

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