How Can Working Parents Save on Food Bills?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

After a long day at work, dining out is the easiest option to turn to. This could become repetitive and maybe already is, for many working parents. As a result, the increased household expenditure of eating at a restaurant or even buying fast food can put you in deep worries at the end of the month.

Being a parent, you would like to turn your child away from convenience food, and since you work full time, all you need are easy tips and techniques that can help you reduce your time spent on both food preparation and cooking.

Plan the 3 Meals of the Day

The biggest concern of most working people is that they can’t figure out what to cook even with a fridge full of raw food. If you’re one of them and end up reordering from your favorite food order list, you need to take time out to plan your family’s meal. It’s better to spare a few minutes organizing a menu each day instead of splurging money on outside food which may not be healthy or hygienic.

By honestly following your menu plan, you can make the most of your stored groceries and prevent food waste from over-purchasing. Yes, that’s right, menu planning can also help you to make your grocery list and avoid mindless trips to the grocery store. Ultimately, you can save money on groceries that had started to take a toll on your finances.

You can either plan your menu one day in advance or plan for the entire month and break it down by week. By planning, it merely means that you decide what you and your family is going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next day. You’ll then always have the answer for one of the most frequently asked questions by children, “What’s for dinner?”.

Prep & Preserve for Later

Smart cooking practices don’t always have to do with high-tech appliances. Working with leftovers, making different dishes using the same ingredients, freezing seasonal produce, growing your food at home, and the like are some great tricks to add smartness to your cooking style.

Also, if you’re buying vegetables in bulk to save a little more money, use the ones that may not stay fresh for long first. Doing this will save your groceries from getting stale before you can finish them. Also, keep a check on the expiration dates of canned products before and after purchase.   

If you’re frequently going overboard in food consumption, you can try the Envelope Budgeting System for your family. This is a budgeting technique where you set aside a portion of your income and place it in a different envelope for each expense category. You can only spend the money from that envelope for that particular expense category. If you put $500 in your food expense envelope, you take along money from that specific envelope the next time you go out for grocery shopping or a restaurant. The benefit of this budgeting system is that you can not spend more than the amount allocated to a particular envelope, making it easier to stick to your budget.

If you’ve made a sound mind to stop (or at least reduce) eating out, the first thing to do is quit the idea of stopping by a restaurant on the way home. Your job is half done when you reach home after a long day of work if you’ve completed your food prep for dinner before-hand. This not only reduces your cooking time by a great deal but also saves you from paying hefty restaurant bills.

All in all, food expenses are an inevitable part of most people’s monthly budget. You’re spending a lot of money by eating at a restaurant frequently, and, if you are doing your grocery shopping and dining out often, you are definitely overspending on food.  Fortunately, unlike your other fixed monthly payments like your mortgage or rent, you can always cut your food budget by adopting healthy habits and still feed you and your family well.

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1
    Brian Garson says

    A lovely read. I have been told that dry foods are a great way to save pet feeding costs. However, i have also been told that they contain a lot of grains and fillers. Would you advise on buying something like Blue buffalo products (I saw good reviews about them on Petcarerx) that claim to have a higher protein content or the ones that claim to be grain free?

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