1. Get your condiments and spices from the dollar store.
Who knew you could get this stuff at the dollar store?! It’s pretty much like a big insider secret. Save money AND keep your food as flavorful as ever. No one has to know.
2. Make your lunch at home.
It takes a little prep, but good lord does it add up fast. You’ll save up enough that you can go out and eat like a fancy emperor every now and then. (Your date doesn’t need to know you eat tuna sandwiches 23/6.)
3. Dumpster dive behind fancy bakeries.
Your extra-high-quality joints are paranoid about freshness, so there’s no way they’d sell a day-old croissant. You, on the other hand, have slightly lower standards along with a thirst for adventure and living on the edge. What more needs to be said?
It’s not just for old people anymore. Even food delivery services like GrubHub offer coupons for first-time orders. So get your friends and neighbors together: If you’re willing to order to a different address every time, guess what? Yep, you beat the system.
5. Daily deals.
6. Go out for lunch instead of dinner.
It’s MUCH cheaper. Plus, if you’re with a group, there’s less of a chance your friends will order drinks, appetizers, or plates to share while at lunch. In other words, it’s much easier to get hornswaggled into paying $30 at dinner than at lunch.
Pro Tip: A lot of your high-end steak joints have an Achilles’ Heel — an affordable burger that’s probably the best thing you’ve ever eaten.
7. Get your produce at farmer’s markets / fruit stands.
You could be forgiven for thinking farmer’s markets are for yuppies, but the food is actually way cheaper and way fresher. Why? It’s a long story that involves supply chains and macroeconomics, but you can be happy knowing that you’re getting the healthiest, highest-quality produce available for less money than even the dingiest supermarket.
And guess what? There’s a chance you already live near one.
8. Hunt and fish.
Oh no big deal, just the way your ancestors got their food for free for like a gazillion years. Look, if you live in NYC, you’re probably not hunting your own prey (unless you’re a chicken-raising Brooklyn hipster). But if you don’t, strap up, predator! Time to hit the wilderness!
9. Throw a family feast for $10.
Rotisserie chicken from the supermarket = $6. Little paper drumstick frills = free. Potato = 50¢ each. One head of lettuce = like, what, $1? $2? Add those together and you have a holiday feast for a family of four for under 10 bucks.
10. There are a million ways to dress up white / brown rice.
Rice is pretty much the perfect food. It’s filling, it’s cheap, and you can buy a TON of it at a time. It’s also pretty easy to spice up, so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same bland porridge each and every time.
Financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California, License # 0E36312), and USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.