Moving out from your parents’ house can be quite a challenge, especially since many parents do a pretty lousy job of introducing their children to the skills they’ll be needing when they’re on their own. But fear not! It’s still perfectly doable even if you’ve been sheltered from the outside world, and even in these economical times.
Given that I went through this just a few years back, at the time having no job and being 100% broke, I obviously learned quite a few things on how to save money and live a frugal life. I decided to put these things into a list and break that list down into three blog posts:
I hope these tips will help some of you move out with a little more confidence and prevent you from having to move back in due to financial troubles. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to be notified of new updates!
Saving Money On Food And Buying Groceries When You Finally Move Out
So, here goes:
Use a freezer all the time to save money on food
If you have a freezer, make a use of it. Buy frozen meat, fish, and vegetables, as they all taste much better than the canned type and last much longer than fresh. Also, there are many things that you can store in ice cubes.
Buy good kitchen appliance to save money on cooking
Pans and other kitchen appliances can be very expensive – if you need to buy them yourself (some rented flats already have them), start with core essentials; you’ll learn that you don’t necessary need a juicer, an oven, a peeler, fancy wine glasses, coffee maker, etc. My list of essentials is as follows: a wok, a good regular cook or Santoku knife, basic cutlery, a wooden spoon, and a single pot with a lid.
Buy a Crockpot to save money on eating
In addition to that, people report having a crockpot is very handy when you’re cooking in bulk. It is said that you can easily cook up to 6 meals in a single ‘session’ for just $1 each.
Buy food in bulk to save money
This is an obvious one, but I have to add it to the list – try to always buy in bulk. Here in Europe, buying in bulk is a little bit different than in the USA, but you can generally still save if you buy bigger cans, bigger bags, etc. of a certain product. Just make sure you know what to do with leftovers (hint: freeze or dry!).
Learn how to cook right saves money
You will unavoidably need to learn how to cook to you avoid wasting money on eating out. In addition to that, you can try to motivate your friends to invite you over for dinner or cook together – this will be much easier if you have friends that are already thrifty. Social component of saving money is often overlooked – always attempt to connect with other people at the campus or apartment block.
Find free food
Another way of getting free food is by attending certain events, like art openings, parties,info sessions, club events, contests, business seminars, and recruiting events. They often have free food, and you get to socialize for free.
Buy raw food
The rule of thumb is, the more cooking the food requires, cheaper it will be. This is true for almost anything that is not fast food – so try buying raw stuff instead of convenience foods. It tends to be much healthier, too.
Buy a lot of tupperware to save money on food
Stock up on tupperware or something of sort for freezing food and for bringing it to work/school (unless you never leave home). Smaller sizes are more useful, as you can just thaw a single portion at a time. Again, really try to block the time every week (for example Sunday afternoon) for preparing meals for the whole week.
Prepare food for lunch to save money on food
If, however, you somehow forget to prepare lunch for a certain day, sandwiches, salads, and pasta make great and cheap quickies. Btw, storing cut up and washed salad in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, along with a piece of paper towel, will keep it fresh for a couple more days.
Eat less meat to save money
Eat less meat and replace it with other sources of protein, like soya, oats, legumes, eggs, milk, and nuts.
Buy cheap foods
Cheap foods worth buying are eggs, rice, beans, ramen, pasta, bananas, oats, potatoes, and lentils. (Got any other ideas? Share in the comments!)
Shop at Asian markets to buy cheap food
If you have an asian market nearby try buying there, because it’s super cheap. In the country that I live in we don’t have those, so I buy certain items at the farmers market, and others at the Walmart-type of stores like Aldi, Eurospin, Hofer, Lidl. However, it was not always like this – just take it easy and buy at a different store each time. After a few weeks, compare which one cost you the least and but there from then on.
Use a shopping list to budget food bill
Creating a shopping list like a pro: My strategy for buying food at the grocery store consists of keeping a post-it note on the fridge for writing down food I ran out of throughout the week. Before I go to the store every week or two, I sort these items onto a separate shopping list, group them by type (so I don’t wander around the store), and throw out ones that I think are non-essential. Avoid buying stuff individually as you will spend a lot more in the long run.
Do no impulse buy food
If you keep impulsively buying stuff when shopping for groceries, try this trick; allow yourself only one item that’s not on the shopping list. If you want two, you’ll need to choose between them.
Never go to store drunk, high, or thirsty
Of course, never go to a store drunk, high, hungry, or thirsty. Even being high on caffeine can make you buy more things that are you don’t really need.
Learn how to cook new dishes
If you’ve just moved to your own place, you’ll be likely too overwhelmed by everything that is suddenly going on in your life to carefully plan lunches for the week. My suggestion is to learn to cook one dish every week and then just cook that one dish for the whole week. You’ll get tired of this strategy at some point, but by then you’ll already know how to cook quite a few meals.
Learn how to use spices
Having just a couple of spices like pepper, chili, basil, oregano, etc. will help you create magic out of your food. As you learn how to cook that one meal per week, try variations; add some coconut milk, roast onions and add them in, maybe add some cheese – all of these extras are not always cheap, of course, but my point is that you can create very different tastes from that same meal by just using flavors.
Add spices to breakfast
On the other hand, you can easily eat the same breakfast every day, and you won’t get bored of it soon – a great example is cereal or muesli. Try to make your own to save more money, make it healthier, and more to your own taste.
Grow vegetables to lower food costs
Veggies are great – they can keep you from getting sick and fill you up with fibers. They can be a bit expensive though (meaning they’re not free), so why not grow your own? You can either rent a garden with a couple of friends, grow a few herbs on your balcony or window sill, or even exploit the hidden parts of city parks to plant your food.
Do not buy Soda
Soft drinks are expensive and bad for your health, but you should know that already. Replace them with homemade stuff like kombucha, flavored water, ice tea, natural fruit juices, etc. This shouldn’t require listing, but being used to the taste of water also saves money.
Make your own beer
To save big-time on booze, make your own beer. That’s especially beneficial because you can drag your friends into it and make it a social event that requires no additional spending for socialization. If you still choose to go out, drink some when you’re still at home. Taking a cab to the pub or club will prevent you from drunk driving home, plus you’ll save on drinks when you’re already there. Win! Here’s another hack for saving money on alcohol.
Learn about budgeting
To help you stay on track, regularly learn about money management and saving in general.
Use coupons to save money on food
I am not a big fan of couponing (they seem like such a hassle), but if you happen to find it useful, definitely add it to your money-saving arsenal. There are plenty of sites online that collect and share these for the most hassle-free experience.
So that’s it – I’m sure you have plenty of other tips, so please share them in the comments. Also don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly updates, and please share this post if you liked it!