Dining on a Dime: How to Save Money on Meals

Dining on a Dime: How to Save Money on Meals

You’re hungry after a long day at work and realize there’s nothing in the fridge. Again. Going out to grab takeout seems like the only option when you’re tired and unmotivated to cook. Though eating out all the time can really take a bite out of your food budget.

There are ways to save money on meals without sacrificing taste or convenience. With a couple simple tricks up your sleeve, you could be dining on delicious food without dropping a ton of dough. In this blog post, we’re going to introduce some of the best tips for slashing your food costs so you can keep more cash in your wallet.

Make a Meal Plan and Grocery List

Step 1 when saving money on meals is to plan out what you’re going to eat for the week and make a list of what you need. Think about your schedule and how much time you have to cook, then choose 4 to 5 dinners to make for the week.

With some upfront planning and smart food shopping strategies, you can reduce your grocery bill substantially. Let’s dive into it:

Shop Seasonal Produce and Buy in Bulk

Shop Seasonal Produce and Buy in Bulk

Grocery shopping seasonal produce and buying in bulk are two of the easiest ways to trim away at your grocery bill.

Fruits and veggies that are in season are usually cheaper since there’s more. Check what’s on sale to plan your meals around those ingredients. Some of the best deals are on staples like:

  • Apples, oranges, watermelon, and berries in the summer. Stock up and use them in salads, yogurt, or oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Broccoli, carrots, and leafy greens which are affordable year-round. Add them to pasta, rice bowls, or frittatas.
  • Tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers in late summer. Make ratatouille, chili, or pasta sauce and freeze some for when winter comes.

If you’re trying to save money on food, shop produce that’s in season. You’re going to get better grocery prices and support local farmers too.

Buying Bulk

Pantry staples you can buy in large sizes include:

  • Rice, beans, oats, and nuts: These have a long shelf life and are used in many cuisines. Look for sales and portion into smaller bags or containers.
  • Canned goods: Stock up on veggies, soups, tuna and chicken when there are deep discounts.
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables: Berries, spinach and broccoli are very versatile and last 6-12 months.
  • Meats: Whole chickens, ground beef, fish filets, and stew meat can be portioned and frozen.

Buy in bulk when possible and be flexible with your meal planning based on what’s on sale during your shopping trips. Your wallet and taste buds will thank you! With some creativity, you’ll be dining on a dime in no time.

Cook at Home and Meal Prep

Cook at Home and Meal Prep

Once you have your ingredients — it’s time to start cooking. When you make your own food, you have control over what goes into it and how much you spend. Here’re some tips to start:

Cook in bulk and meal prep

Double recipes when you cook and freeze portions for easy meals later on. Things such as soups, stews, casseroles, and pasta sauces are perfect for this. You can also prep ingredients like chopped veggies, cooked grains, and marinated meats to throw together quick meals during the week.

Plan your meals ahead

Sit down on the weekend and make a meal plan for the week based on what’s on sale at the grocery store and what you already have. Make a grocery list from your meal plan and stick to it when shopping to avoid impulse purchases. Planning also helps reduce food waste since you know exactly what you need.

Cook simple, one-pot meals

Dishes such as chili, stir fry, fajitas, and fried rice are cheap, filling, and easy to make. They’re also great for using up leftovers if too much food is cooked and reducing food waste.

Avoid going out to eat

Cooking at home is much more budget-friendly than dining out. Limit eating at restaurants to once a week. When you do eat out, look for deals like daily specials, happy hour menus or lunch specials which are usually cheaper.

Following these handy tips and making home cooking a priority in your weekly routine can help cut your food costs significantly over time. Home cooking may require a bit more effort but will benefit both your wallet and your health in the long run. Give it a try and start reaping the rewards!

Use Coupons and Cash-Back Apps

Use Coupons and Cash-Back Apps

Using coupons and cash-back apps is one of the easiest ways to save money on your meals. Who doesn’t like keeping more dollars in their wallet? With some quick taps on your phone, find deals at your favorite restaurants and get money back for dining out.

Coupon Sites

Sites like Coupons.com and DealsPlus offer digital coupons for many restaurants like Applebee’s or Olive Garden. Browse their selections for your city and you’ll likely find some good deals like $5 off $50 or 20% off your check. Some coupons can even be combined with the restaurant’s current promotions to maximize savings.

Download Cash-Back Apps

Apps such as Ibotta and Rakuten offer cash back for dining at participating restaurants. Link your credit or debit card to the apps, then check for offers at restaurants you frequent. When you spend money with your linked card, the app tracks your purchase and deposits around 2-10% of your total bill back into your account. The money can add up over time and many apps offer signup bonuses and referral programs to increase your earnings.

Do a Quick Search

Before heading out to eat, do a quick internet search for “[Restaurant Name] coupon code” or “[Restaurant Name] promo code.” You’re likely going to find a coupon code for 5-15% off your check or other current special offers. Some restaurants release short-term deals and coupon codes on their social media pages and newsletters as well, so check there too.

Discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask your server if there are any current discounts, specials, or coupon codes they can apply to your check. Often restaurants or grocery stores have promotions that aren’t heavily advertised and the staff is usually happy to save you money if possible. The worst they can say is no, but you might get lucky and save 5-35% just by speaking up!

Using these simple money-saving tips can easily shave 10-50% off your dining bills over time. Give them a try and keep more of your hard-earned cash in your wallet where it belongs.

Saving Money on Meals? Save Money With a FREE Phone!

Yeah, you read that right! EASY Wireless is offering FREE phones with unlimited data to qualifying individuals. If you’re trying to save money on meals, start by saving money on your phone bill.

Thanks to connectivity programs like Lifeline & ACP, you’re likely eligible for some incredible benefits to help you save on phone & data expenses or access them if you’re struggling financially. Here’s what we’re offering:

EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan

To start with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:

Start Saving Today!

 

Start Saving Today!

Or you can come to one of the EASY Wireless’s retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for your benefits.

Join the Tens of Thousands that have already signed up for FREE Lifeline and ACP Benefits.

Free Government-Smartphone EASY Wireless