Welcome to part four of seven ways to get financially independent. A series of tactics you can use to achieve financial independence as soon as possible. Remember it’s not about getting rich, it’s about getting free.
If you haven’t read them already hop over and read the previous articles.
Introduction to the series – Here.
Part One: Moving to a new country – Here
Part Two: Starting a side hustle – Here
Part Three: Alternatives to your car – Here
Seven Ways To Get Financially Independent In 2017: Part 4
How can food rob financial independence?
Food is a necessity as well as a joy if done well. I spent many years in commercial kitchens preparing food for other people so I understand the passion people have for food. However food does not have to take up a large chunk of your cash.
What are the ways food can stop you becoming financially independent?
5 big ways that food eats your time and money.
1) Eating out too much
Eating out generally is expensive. Unless you live in an area of the world with a low cost of living then eating out is not a good use of your finances. Spending £40 a week on eating out robs you of £2000 per year. Over 10 years that would be well in excess of twenty thousand. I’m not sure about you but that would get me closer to becoming financially independent.
2) Takeaway/delivery food
Generally takeaway food is one of the biggest eating disappointments I ever have. You order by phone (or app). Hours later a delivery guy turns up with barely warm, barely edible food in silver trays or cardboard boxes and expects a tip for the privilege.
3) Choosing branded food.
I spend my working life visiting food production plants. Most “value” brands and most expensive brands are produced in the same factories on the same lines to very similar recipes. Buying branded food is flat out a waste of money. If you can live without the brands you will live a more frugal life
4) Buying too much.
Salad is reduced, “oh let’s buy 2 bags”…. 4 days later 1 and a half bags go in the bin.
Buy what you need not what the shops are selling you.
5) Living by “Best Before” and “Use by dates”.
A best before date is quite simply what it says. The food is best before a certain date, after that the quality may be reduced slightly. You are free to use some initiative here, if it tastes bad or smells bad don’t eat it.
Use By Dates are not as easy to ignore, the producer states the product should be eaten before the Use By Date and will not be liable to any ill effects you experience for ignoring it. However, most companies will reduce the printed shelf life to less than the actual laboratory tested shelf life. This is to reduce any risk of issues occurring.
*I am not advising eating food past its UBD or BBD, just stating my “opinions” If you choose to eat out of date food that is your own personal decision and I accept no responsibility for any ill effects.
Avoiding the mistakes to become financially independent
So there you have ways that food can rob you of freedom. But how can you counteract these issues and driver ever onward towards becoming financially independent. I’ve put together 7 ways I keep my household food budget below £70 per month whilst still eating well.
1) Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can be cheaper. I always buy my chicken breasts in 5 kg bags and freeze them in individual portions.
Any dry products, think pasta, rice and other grains can be bought and stored for a very long time. Do not buy fresh products in bulk that cannot be stored easily (see point 4 above)
2)Vouchers and coupons
By utilising vouchers sent from Tesco to give discount off my food. If i can combine multiple offers to get an even better price then great. Avoid coupons for things you do not need.
3) Utilise what you have available
As some of you will already know I get to eat lots of my meals through my work. When opportunities come up then you have to take advantage of them.
When staying in hotels I will take additional food from the breakfast buffet to have for lunch. If lunch is provided at any of my site visits then I take advantage of this by eating well.
4) “CheckoutSmart” app
An app I’ve just started to take advantage is checkout smart. It allows you to purchase items from supermarkets and get the full price refunded. This has been a game changer in terms of trying new products. The only issue is sometimes you will end up buying things you really don’t need just because it is free. I recently bought some baby food snacks which were quite delicious.
5) Cook in bulk and freeze
“Meal prep Sunday”, a staple in the bodybuilding community. A great way to ensure you spend no money on takeout is to always have prepared food in the fridge or freezer. Cooking in bulk is an efficient use of time and other resources. I have a freezer full of chilli con carne, curry, casseroles and soups.
6) Reduce meat consumption:
Whichever way you spin it meat is expensive. I love meat as much as the next person (probably more) but to become more frugal I have had to cut down on my meat consumption. For instance using less chicken in a curry and utilising additional vegetables to bulk the dish out.
7) Use frozen vegetables instead of fresh:
Science backs up the fact that eating frozen vegetable can provide similar nutritional benefits as eating fresh vegetables. The fact is frozen vegetable are generally cheaper in cost to start with. They can also reduce the amount of wastage in your household. Fresh vegetable if not stored correctly can deteriorate in a matter days. Frozen veg should be good for at least 6 months if not longer.
8) Eat less
There is a truism in place in western society that a huge percentage of the population are significantly overweight. People become overweight generally for two reasons they are not exercising enough or they are eating more calories than they need. One sure-fire way to reduce your waistline as well as increase your net worth is to reduce the amount of actual calories that you are eating on a daily basis.
9) Plan ahead
Plan your meals for the week before going shopping. You are less likely to buy things you don’t need. It’s easier to shop frugally when your list is the same every week.
Food need not be a drag on your finances. By purchasing and cooking smartly you should be able to significantly reduce your outgoings on a weekly basis.
How do you help towards becoming financially independent when buying food? Let me know in the comments below.