“Excuse me, waiter. What would you recommend?”
“Well, the smashed avocado and Danish feta cheese with a drizzle of Spanish extra virgin olive oil on toasted country rye sourdough topped with locally grown organic cherry tomatoes with a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper corn is absolutely off the hook. And $23.90.”
“I’ll just stick with a coffee thanks.”
In the past few years, it seems everyone has found their inner foodie.
In fact I can easily say that eating out has become one of my biggest expenses, chewing up a big chunk of my weekly budget.
The question is, is it possible to enjoy good, healthy food while keeping up with your saving goals?
Or to put it another way, how can you ensure that after splurging on those $27 honey-rosemary glazed baby heirloom carrots you’re not forced to eat two-minute ramen noodles for days afterwards?
Here are seven ways to satisfy your foodie tendencies that don’t involve dipping into your home deposit savings account every time you want a pulled pork burger.
Make eating out your main social event
Going out for dinner with some friends at a funky restaurant instead of a night out at a club makes food the focus of your social life and can also save you hundreds of dollars.
No cover charges, no booth fees, no Uber rides home or new dresses necessary!
Limit eating out to twice a week
Sunday brunch plus Thursday, Friday and Saturday night dinners and after-work drinks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays equals broke.
Doing that each week could mean the difference between buying that investment property next year, in three years or… never.
Become a regular
I have found that I am more likely to get free coffees and discounted food when I am seen as a ‘regular’.
I also work in hospitality so I am more likely to give a discount to the customer I see every week than the customer I see once in a blue-moon.
Like good business, it’s all about building good relationships.
Head down to your local RSL
Please don’t judge, but some of the best food I have ever eaten has been at RSL clubs.
There are many out there that go above and beyond regular ‘pub food’ and feature items like cajun chicken and creamy chilli garlic prawns for a fraction of the price.
Spend some time on Pinterest, then get cooking
Cooking is what relaxes me and I will use any opportunity to jump on Pinterest.
Fortunately, these two habits together can lead to big savings.
The beauty of picking your budget recipes on Pinterest is that you can feel certain that your $3 a serve, one pot, no mess, tex-mex casserole will still be Instagram worthy!
Make your groceries last
When packing lunches and making breakfasts, look for items where a little goes a long way.
Things like spinach and kale can be used in salads for lunch and in smoothies for breakfast.
A dozen eggs can be served with bacon for Saturday brunch as well as in a batch of blueberry muffins.
Similarly you can use sweet potatoes (super cheap and super nutritious) for crispy fries, or boil them and pop them into your Nutri-Bullet for a delicious soup! Find cheap, staple items that go a long way.
Visit dear old granny
Family dinner has always been a tradition in my family.
Once a week we have dinner at my Grandma’s house. Being Spanish, she makes everything from paella to lentil soup to leche flan and she does it better than any five star restaurant.
So why not give your grandma a call? She might just invite you over for a free dinner (but of course you wouldn’t tell her that’s the reason you’re visiting).