None of this is good news for your food budget. But there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your food bill. Consider these four tips:
Coupons -- remember those? Your mother used to clip them every Sunday from the circulars. Well, coupons are still alive and well, and they can get you great discounts at the grocery store. Most grocery stores double your coupon if it's for less than 50 cents. That can be a dollar of savings just by taking a second to look through the paper.
Pack your own lunch.
Eating lunch out can add up just because you do it every day. If you spend $8 on lunch every day, that's $40 a week, $160 a month. Making your own lunch with food bought at the grocery store will likely cut that cost in half.
Reduce eating out altogether.
Frequent eating out can be a huge hit to your wallet. Even fast food isn't cheap. Think about it this way, for a hamburger with french fries, at an average restaurant, it could cost in the neighborhood of $10 with tip. Compare that with a recent quote from Netgrocer.com, an online grocery store, which lists a pack of four 16-ounce Bison Buffalo Burgers for $9.45. For a dinner of four where each person orders a burger, the cost without drinks would be $40. This compares with under $15 if you had stayed home. That's almost $25 in savings.
If you must eat out, don't order drinks, stick with water.
This is always a good rule of thumb if you're trying to save. Soda can add another $1.50 to $2.50 on your bill per person. Beer can add $5 and up.
By Marshall Loeb