Make restaurants a special treat
Restaurant meals and takeout cost more than a home-cooked meal—after all, you’re paying for service in addition to the ingredients. By cooking at home more often, you can enjoy meals together without dishing out all that dough, says Julie Rains, a personal finance writer at Investing to Thrive. “Food is a large expense, and the more it can be controlled, the more money you’ll have to spend on other things or save for the future,” says Rains, who sent her oldest son to college without loans. Here are more money-saving resolutions to consider.
Go easy on the junk food
The low price tags on junk food can be deceiving, says Safiyyah Saafir, a training coach and speaker at Saleosophy. They won’t keep you satisfied as long as whole foods, and you’re probably eating them to satisfy a craving rather than squash hunger. Quit your ice cream habit, and instead put your money into satisfying, healthy snacks to eat when you’re hungry, like apples and peanut butter, or carrot sticks and hummus. “I don’t know if the intention was purely health-related or if budgets played a role, but my parents rarely if ever bought junk food for us,” says Saafir, whose parents didn’t take out loans to send her to school (though they did have her take a loan out for her final semester). “Looking back as an adult who occasionally dabbles in the junk, I realize—whatever the intention—focusing on buying quality, healthy food is nice on the pockets and waistline.”