Budget

5 Ways to Stop Spending So Much Money on Coffee — Our Food Budgets, Ourselves

Spending less money on coffee is easy: Get less-involved drinks, join a loyalty program, etc. This post is not about how to do that (you already know how!).

This post is about how to avoid that expensive money trap that is the coffee shop in the first place. Yes, I know there are some who would argue that going out for coffee is totally worth it, but if you're trying to stop spending money on coffee, the best way to do so is just to stop going out. Here's how.

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​5 Times When I Let My Food Budget Slide — Our Food Budgets, Ourselves

Making and keeping to a regular food budget can produce a lot of great results: balanced finances, self-discipline, and increased creativity in the kitchen as you make ends meet using up what's on hand. But every once in a while you gotta loosen up.

While I love the perks of keeping a food budget, there are some distinct occasions when I'm okay with letting things slide.

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5 Money-Saving Tips from a Coupon Clipper — Our Food Budgets, Ourselves

If you've ever seen that coupon-based reality TV show, you know that couponers can do some crazy stuff. I wasn't — and am not — one of those couponers, but I was pretty close.

Our family was deep in debt, and I'd heard that you could save a boatload of money if you started couponing. So, I clipped like crazy, shopped the sales, and built a stockpile of the items that were most prevalent among coupons at the time, such as paper goods, toothpaste, frozen entrees, and boxed cereal. It very nearly took over my life and I also purchased more processed foods than I care to admit.

Since then, I've calmed down and cleaned up our diet significantly. You won't see much in the way of frozen chicken nuggets or boxed cereal crowding my kitchen. But I still use coupons to save money at the grocery store. Here are five couponing tips I've come to rely on.

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Why Bacon Is the Most Economical Way to Eat Meat — Meat Market

(Image credit: American Meat Institute )

A few weeks ago, I had a very illuminating conversation with a few friends on bacon.

We got on the topic because we were talking about meal planning, and how it's been the answer to budgeting and cooking fatigue. Everyone in the car was newly or nearly 30, so it felt like an all-around appropriate conversation to have.

Then my friend Allison, a person who always teaches me something new about cooking with her elegant and effortless way of going about it, described how once she started eating meat again, bacon became her key to stress-free weeknight meals. Her recipe for beans and greens starts with "one pound bomb-ass bacon, cut up into large bits and sautéed in a cast iron skillet until crispy; drain and save half the liquid fat for cooking and leave the rest with the bacon."

Another friend brought up Brussels sprouts and bacon. Later, I had a friend call asking about a way to use up the bacon fat she had saved from a string of weekend brunches. We are all talking about bacon as a component of a meal, as the starter or a topping. For some, it was the only meat they ever really got around to making. My own cooking habits are similar — bacon, for the most part, is seasoning and condiment and never really the star. Why and how we made these choices that led us to cook with bacon this way was certainly a function of flavor, but cost was pacing at the same level of priority. So I asked everyone this: Is bacon the most economical way to eat meat?

I got yeses all around.

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My Smartest Tip for Saving Money on Takeout — Our Food Budgets, Ourselves

My husband and I rely on takeout more often than I'd like to admit. If I haven't had the time to meal plan (or grocery shop) for the week, chances are, we're having cereal or takeout for dinner. One of those things can be inexpensive (two boxes for $5? Yes, please!), while the other can add up — very quickly.

Luckily, we've figured out one little hack to help us keep our weekly food bills below budget.

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10 Things That Are (Much) Cheaper at 365 than Whole Foods — Our Food Budgets, Ourselves

The 365 by Whole Foods Market stores are billed as a lower-price version of the mother store, but how much will you really save? I decided to investigate. On the same day in February, I checked the prices of items in regular rotation on my grocery list at the 365 by Whole Foods in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and an old-school Whole Foods seven miles away in Glendale, CA.

Here's what I found out.

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