Photo By: Anderson Mancini

The first thing, and possibly the best thing I’ve done to save money so far is cook. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen but up until a few weeks ago, I let laziness get the better of me. Instead of cooking, we would order delivery from nearby sushi places, Swiss Chalet or pizza twice a week. As I’ve pointed out before, laziness costs money. But laziness also made us eat unhealthy meals that were often less satisfying than something homecooked. I was also feeling guilty about the horrible amounts of waste takeout and fast food containers create.

This all changed when we committed to meal planning. Every weekend, I search my favourite food websites, cook books and magazines for healthy, uncomplicated and tasty dishes to make. The grocery bill ends up being longer and more expensive, but for about $40-50/each, we end up with a full week’s worth of meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Some might say that $50 in groceries is a lot for one person and they’re probably right. I’m working on being more frugal at the supermarket, but that said, I’ve sill managed to save a lot of money. Here’s a chart I created to compare what I was spending on food each week and what I’m spending now:

BEFORE NOW
Groceries $25 $50
Lunches $40 $8
Dinner $40 $15
Weekends $60 $40
TOTAL $165 $113

That’s a difference of more than $50 a week. Add that all up and it’s a savings of $200/month!

Lesson Learned: Make your own meals and save a lot of money. It’s also better for the environment, healthier and probably tastier.

A few notes about this chart:

  • I allow myself to buy my lunch once a week, usually on Thursdays when there is a farmer’s market across the street.
  • We have been quite good at eating in on the weekends, too but we allow ourselves one nice dinner at the end of the week. By nice, I mean a $30/person with tax, tip and a glass of wine.
  • I haven’t counted special occasion just because they’re rare. By special occasion, I mean birthdays, anniversaries, etc. They’re filed under entertainment costs for now.

There’s a lot more room for improvement, but for anyone else trying to cut down spending, I highly recommend looking at your food. If you’re less picky about food (I can’t eat sandwiches more than once or twice a week), you’ll be able to save even more cash.

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