To the young investor cast out from under the gustatory protection of mom, dad, and the college cafeteria, buying your own food for the first time in your life can be not only a financial shock to the system but a huge undertaking as well. Judging from an informal office poll, the first thing you’ll likely do is go hog wild and eat out three times a day, which will cause you to run out of money half way through the month and subsist on a case of out-of-date Ramen noodles until the next paycheck. While we harbor no illusions that anyone will pay attention to the following advice at first, maybe you’ll reluctantly come back after trying it your way.
The price of food is a killer. Here’s how to give your budget a fighting chance.
1. Eat at Home: The fact is that any tasty meal at your favorite restaurant can likely be prepared at home, or at least a close approximation of your favorite meal, for pennies on the dollar. As a young investor trying to save money, you absolutely cannot make dining out a daily habit.
2. Make a Shopping List: If you wander into the grocery store hungry and stumble around around throwing stuff in your cart, there’s a good chance you’re going to get back home with a pitifully small amount of high-priced, low nutritive “food.” Make a list and ignore the scrumptious distractions.
3. Work the Maze: Grocery stores are intentionally set up so that you have to run a gauntlet of tempting junk items to find the basic necessities around which to build meals. Stay mostly on the perimeter where the actual food is, only wandering into the maze in the middle for a few stray items at the end.
4. Eat First: Fill up at home on a good meal before shopping. You can’t imagine (or maybe you can) what incredibly bad impulse buys end up in the cart if you make the mistake of going into the store hungry. In fact, fill yourself past the point of comfort, so that food is extra less appealing. That should keep you on point.
5. Skip Bottled Water: That liquid gold sold in the store called bottled water is one of the biggest crocks in Western civilization. And it you’re one of those pansy whiners who whimper that you don’t like the taste of tap water, buy a filter. The whole point of this is to cut back on food costs so you’ll have money to invest. Paying for water in bottle is simply ridiculous. Jump on the Internet sometime and do some real research on where that stuff comes from – completely, absolutely, totally a waste of precious financial resources.
We’re beginning to fear that our readers may be on the verge of reaching their tolerance for browbeating today, so we’ll cease and desist for now. Just keep in mind that to neglect creating proper food habits today could be the difference between a stunning portfolio tomorrow, or suffering the paycheck-to-paycheck routine the rest of your life. For real.
The Young Wealth Team
Flickr / Jeff Keen