The average household spends $5,278 on groceries per year. This represents an about 13.1% of average household income.1 So, groceries make up a significant chunk of a household’s budget. And, they’re more variable than many other line items in your budget.
This means lowering your grocery bill is much easier than lowering your car or utility payments. And it’s definitely much easier than lowering your rent or mortgage.
One of the best ways to save money on your food is to limit the amount of dishes and foods you cook.
I’m not suggesting you eat less. I’m just suggesting that you eat less variety. This may seem like it would be boring, but it really doesn’t have to be.
The Most Important Meal of the Day
The good news is most people like eating pretty much the same thing for breakfast. So breakfast isn’t usually a challenge.
My boyfriend and I like having eggs with avocado for breakfast. We either fry, poach, or scramble the eggs. Then we slice up an avocado, and add salt, pepper and hot sauce. It’s quick, easy, and it starts the day in a healthy way for us – protein, fats, and fiber. It’s only 300-400 calories. And it’s delicious.
But maybe best of all, it’s cheap. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Costco. I can get 18 Eggland’s best eggs from Costco for about $4.50. And I can get avocados for about $1 each. So, each egg costs about $.25 each, and we go through 4 eggs and one avocado a day between the 2 of us.
This means we’re spending about $2 per day on a meal that’s easy and that we love. We’ll eat this on weekdays and then have waffles on the weekend. The waffles are gluten-free, so they’re a little pricier – perhaps $3 per day for the two of us.
So, our total breakfast cost for the week is $16. All we have to buy is:
- Waffle mix.
Plus we have to make sure that we have almond milk and syrup on hand for the waffles.
We could probably get our breakfast cost down even further by buying cheaper eggs. Or we could switch to eating cereal or oatmeal. But we think our breakfast is pretty healthy. And we like it and don’t want to eat something that we think is less healthy just to save a little more money.
But What About Lunch and Dinner?
You may be on board with the idea of eating the same breakfast most mornings, but not the same lunch and dinner. Eating this way doesn’t have to be boring though. Maybe you can make a different meal every night of the week, but make extra so you can bring it to lunch the next day. And then repeat the same meals the next week.
You shouldn’t get bored eating a particular dinner once or twice every week. You can go even more minimalist and choose dishes with only a few ingredients. Here’s a great website with meals consisting of only 3 ingredients.
I’m not saying that you should never try a new recipe. Variety is the spice of life, and if you like cooking, you’ll want to experiment.But when you’re looking to save money, constantly experimenting with new recipes will make that difficult. I would suggest limiting yourself to trying 1-2 new recipes per month.
The issue is that you’ll need to buy new spices, sauces, and other ingredients that you won’t use much of. These items will either go bad or get dusty sitting on your shelf. If you always make pretty much the same meals, you’ll have a set of staples that you’re always buying. So you won’t have nearly as much waste and unused food.
Plus, you’ll save time when grocery shopping. You’ll know exactly what you need, and won’t have to go hunting around for exotic new ingredients.
And who doesn’t want more time?