Food and drinks are two of the biggest expenses we all have each month, and unlike many bills, it isn’t something that you can just cancel. One thing that you’ve probably noticed is that the cost of food has only continued to increase over the last few years. While I remember when a gallon of milk was only $2.55 a few years ago, there are now stores in my town which are selling it for $4.75. There are a number of basic techniques you can use to save a stupendous amount of money on food each year. In this entry, I will go over each of them in detail:

Use Coupons in Both Grocery Stores and Restaurants – If you want to save money, one thing that you must accept is that coupons are your friends. Using them properly can allow you to save literally hundreds of dollars per month, and thousands of dollars per year. Grocery stores and restaurants in your area will send out coupons to you by mail, and this will be done so that you’re lured into their stores. Once you’re there, they hope you buy additional things and become long term customers. Coupons are automatic discounts that you will receive by presenting them when paying for goods.

For example, if a gallon of milk is normally $3.00, and you get a 50% off coupon for that brand, this means that instead of paying $3.00, you would actually pay $1.75. It is easy to see how you can save lots of money over a period of months by using these frequently, and they are used by restaurants as well as grocery stores. Many restaurants in your area will offer special discounts depending on the food you order, and you will want to keep them handy.

Never go grocery shopping without a list and calculator – When many people go shopping for food, they don’t have a game plan. They just go in the store and buy whatever they desire off the shelf. People who do this rarely save money on groceries, and they never know how much they’re spending until they get to the check out line. A wise person gets a sales paper from the grocery store, makes a list of the things he/she wants and how much they cost, and THEN they go shopping. When you do this, you know exactly how much you’re spending, and you can maintain a good budget.

The calculator is important because you can calculate how much you’re spending on groceries before you get to the check out line, and if you find that you’re spending too much, you can put things back or make adjustments to stay within your budget. Never shop on impulse, and never go to the store without a list and a calculator.

Eat out less, and when you do eat out, use the dollar menu more often – When it comes to paying for food, one thing that you had better understand is that eating out will always cost you more than simply buying your food and preparing it at home. When you pay for a meal at a restaurant, you are paying for the convenience of having someone prepare it for you, and you will always pay more. For example, if you eat at a steak house, you will pay two or three times the amount you would pay by simply buying a steak at your local grocery store, and preparing it at home.

If you don’t know how to cook, you will want to learn, because doing so will help you save a boatload of money on food. There are plenty of online videos, guides, and recipe sites which can show you how to cook virtually anything. When you do eat out, especially at fast food restaurants (most of us do), start overlooking the more expensive meals in favor of the dollar menu. The few dollars that you will save by purchasing $1 hamburgers and French fries will save you a lot over the long term.

If you enjoy eating at Burger King, here is a neat trick that can get you a free whopper or chicken sandwich: when you go to Burger King to order a meal, you will be given a receipt. Don’t throw this receipt away, because it has a number which can allow you to call a Burger King hotline to take a survey. After you call and complete the survey, you will be given a number. Present that to the person at the register when you visit Burger King again, and you can get a free Whopper or Chicken sandwich. While you are required to get a small drink and fries, it should only run you about $2.15. In the next blog entry, I will teach you more tips you can use to save big bucks on food.