Whether you are going to abroad for studies, on vacation or just as a tourist, it is important to prepare a budget ahead of your trip. Since you are already done with all the other formalities and made a clear budget including air tickets, Visa, and hotel/hostel. What you might have forgotten to include is the expenditure on food! With hundreds of big and small restaurants in every city, it is tough to keep a check on your food expenses.
Food is one basic necessity. Plan ahead of your journey to get accommodation that has a fridge and where you can cook. Unlike other utilities or needs, you cannot forgo it. Read below to know how to save money on food while staying abroad for a month:
Make a Budget for Each Week and Stick to it
You have to discipline yourself when it comes to any spending. When you know that you will be spending a month there, you must set weekly limits on how much to spend on food. For example, if you have budgeted $500 for food throughout the duration of your stay that means you must not spend beyond $125 each week. It does not matter how often you shop for your groceries and food; your spending should be limited to $125 each week. Stick to this plan, and you will be glad you did. Make a weekly menu before going for shopping. This way, you will buy only the necessary things, and there will be no wastage. However, if you do find something that is not on your list at a great discount, you can alter your list accordingly.
Take Advantage of Discount Offers and Coupons
Don’t be shy to shop at stores that double or triple the value of their coupons. You can find local restaurants and store coupons in local newspapers or online. Online coupons are printable too. Collect coupons that offer free products. You can make the best out of coupons by using them in stores where the item is already on sale to increase the value of the coupon. Just match coupons and items on sales for every week to save a considerable amount of money. You can also buy non-perishable items in bulk as bulk shopping is often more economical.
Buy your Foods at Non-Traditional Stores
You can purchase cheaper and healthier groceries at farmer’s market, butchers, bread outlets, ding and dent stores and ethnic stores. These stores sell their produce at affordable prices. You should also buy in-season products as they are not just fresh but are also less expensive.
Shop at Night
It is a great idea to go shopping at night, as it is less crowded then. You know that feeling when you walk into a store and get distracted because of all the people there and the announcements going on? With so much pressure, before you know it, you are buying things that you did not plan for. This can be avoided by shopping at night. A lot of stores are open till late in the night. You can shop at night when there will be little or no distractions, and you can focus on buying products that you need. This way, you will save more money. There are some stores that offer additional discounts for night shoppers.
Learn to Preserve your Left Overs
While making hotel reservations or setting plans for your accommodation, ensure that there is a refrigerator in the room. Do not let leftover food go bad. You can always reuse them in making new dishes. Save yourself the cost of buying food all the time and get creative by planning your meals with what’s available to you. There are many ways you can incorporate yesterday’s leftover into today’s meal. If you are not very creative, you can simply eat the leftovers for your breakfast.
Avoid Eating Out all the Time
Yes, you love eating out, but you have to admit that it is quite an expensive lifestyle to maintain for a month in another country. Sure, it is unavoidable at times, but whenever possible, try and cook for yourself or rely on ready to eat food packets. Most of the times, eating in a restaurant is quite expensive as you often indulge in beverages and appetizers that shoot up the cost.
Pay with Cash
Credit cards often make you spend more than what you initially plan. Thus, it is better to go for shopping without carrying the cards. If you have limited cash, you will automatically spend less. It will help you plan your purchase and stick to the budget.
Go for Plant Proteins as Opposed to Animal Protein
Animal protein is more expensive than plant protein and not to mention it has saturated fat that is not so healthy. Veggies, however, are very nutritious and great for your health. Eat more beans, nuts, legumes, fruits and grains. By consuming more of plant protein, you will not only save money but also save on medical expenses in the long run. If you love meat so much that you want it with nearly every meal, you can go for the inexpensive cuts of meat.
Use Grocery Apps
Students were staying for about a month in the U.S., should check out the grocery apps. Several useful apps help you save money while grocery shopping. These apps provide information about various stores and the items that they sell. The app can also be used to scan weekly ads, and it tells you if a store or manufacturer coupon is available.
With these tips on how to save money on food, you will surely be able to save a considerable amount of money on your food bills without having to starve yourself towards the end of your trip. You can also keep a journal to record your spending so that you do not run out of money.