Money is tight, but you need to eat. You've read every resource under the sun about saving money on food, but the $10 a month savings you're getting from switching to home brew coffee just isn't working out for you. The question is: How does one save REAL money on food? Here's how.
1. Buy expensive food
When it comes to eating on a budget, many people start thinking about maximizing the amount of calories they can buy for their money. This makes sense on paper, but one quickly becomes miserable and broke following this kind of diet. Carbohydrates tend to provide the greatest caloric bang for the buck, which means you'll be subsisting on a large variety of wheat and cereal based food items that digest quickly. This leaves you with a lot of energy and an empty stomach. Soda and mayonnaise are some of the cheapest sources of energy in the world, but who wants to live on a diet of nothing but soda and mayonnaise?
Slow digesting food items packed with protein, vitamins and fat are the way to go. A rib eye steak will keep you feeling full for hours while you can go through half a box of corn flakes and still feel hungry an hour later. It may seem counter intuitive, but expensive food items like meat and fruit can actually save you money because they keep you full longer, meaning your available food reserves last longer. After all, the ultimate way to save money on food is to eat less of it.
2. Cook your own food (with a twist)
Eating out is expensive. If you have a favorite restaurant you like to go to regularly, why not learn to cook some of their meals yourself instead of paying a chef to cook it for you? Cooking is very simple, and most dishes that restaurants serve are actually quite easy to make. Not only does this save you a lot of money, but you also get to customize the food to your own liking, and you get to eat it whenever you want right from your own kitchen.
3. Count your calories
Even if losing weight isn't your concern, it helps to count your calories to get a good idea of how much you are eating on average. It takes all of 5 minutes to calculate your daily caloric intake, and the benefits are numerous. Being more informed of your own eating habits makes you better able to plan you meals and determine how much food you need to buy at the grocery store. You become less wasteful, and ultimately more frugal.
4. Don't skip the latte
Forget about pinching a couple cents here and there by buying low quality food. If you can get the same quality of food for a lower price, then make the switch. However, if the brand name item is way tastier than the knockoff, buy the real deal because having that little extra enjoyment in life if worth way more than the 50 cents you'll save.
Bonus: If you have a sweet tooth, consider having candy instead of soda as an after meal snack. A large bag of candy lasts way longer than a bottle of soda, plus soda can sometimes make you hungrier after a meal while eating candy keeps you full longer because of the extra bulk.