This is a guest post from Colby over at That Charles Life. He writes about money, travel, teaching English abroad, and much more!
What if I told you that you could eat your way to financial freedom?
It seems a bit outlandish of an idea, doesn’t it? Let’s add to that, not only will you be increasing your savings, but decreasing your waistline.
What’s the catch, right? Well, it’s going to take a little time, organization and discipline. Before you throw up the white flag, hear me out.
The requirements are simple:
- Stop eating out
- Start cooking and preparing all your own meals
- Find a simple, healthy meal plan and only eat that
The benefits are as follows:
- Saving money – to be put towards your freedom
- Being aware of what goes into your body, and meals
- Developing new skills and discipline – will spill over into other areas of life.
A little more intrigued now, aren’t you?
Dining out at restaurants hurts your retirement fund
As delicious and usually convenient as dining out is, it’s a retirement fund sinker.
The costs come from the waitresses’ service, the cook’s efforts, overhead building costs, and all other expenses of running a business. The cost of food is usually only 20-30% or the price you pay.
By taking a little time and effort of your own, you can profit on the remaining 70-80% by cooking at home.
A few caveats I’ll mention.
Personally, dining out with friends is one of my favorite things to do. I’m a foodie, and to me, there is no better way than bonding over feast and drink. So save eating out as a special occasion once or twice a week max with friends.
You should also consider what your time is worth. If you can make more money per hour than it costs to dine out, by all means, pay to have your food made by others.
For example. If cooking a meal yourself takes 30 minutes, the cost of the meal at a restaurant is $25 and you make $60 per hour, it makes more sense to order out.
But I’m going to show you a way to cut down on cooking time and effort shortly.
Learn to cook, it’s a life skill
Learning to cook and prepare your own meals is a life skill everyone should have.
You have much more control over the ingredients and style of preparation, which leads us to the second benefit of cooking yourself. It’s usually better for your body. Restaurants usually fry food, and you’re never sure what quality of ingredients they are using. If fitness is of any importance to you, you’ll need to learn to cook. Hitting your macros is extremely difficult left up to a 3rd party.
Cooking and preparing meals builds discipline. It’s easy to hit the drive-thru. It’s harder to cook 5 days worth of meals after a 10 hour work day and gym session.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And you can be sure this discipline built here will spill over into other areas of your life too.
Streamline the cooking process and your daily diet
Cooking for the week isn’t fun after a full day of work. Balancing it between all of life’s others calls and duties can be tough. Never mind adding the time spent considering what to cook and then finding the ingredients at the supermarket.
Even talking about all this is becoming overwhelming.
So what I do is find one or two meals that you enjoy and are healthy, and eat that every day. With the right hot sauce, I can easily put back chicken, rice and lentils and veggies each and every day for years. And that’s what I’ve been doing.
Cooking the exact same thing each and every day allows you to eventually prepare it with your eyes closed. So the task becomes quick and painless. You also will save time and energy on having to ensure it’s healthy and has enough of the macronutrients you need – if health and fitness are important to you.
This simplistic way of eating is also perfect for budgeting. You’d know precisely what you spend on food. You can also make changes to reduce the costs over time, too.
Control your diet, control your budget, control your life
If you’re a chronic restaurant visiter this may all take some time to adjust to. Cooking food at home and organizing your diet takes a bit of effort. But if financial freedom is important to you, I am willing to bet you are the type of person up for this challenge. The dividend cooking for yourself pays are multifold. You’ll reach your financial goals quicker, and be able to enjoy all that extra freedom with a healthy body.
Everything in moderation, though, don’t be afraid to celebrate once in a while by dining out.
Now get cooking!
Interested in more on this topic? You may also want to check out Are You Eating Yourself Into Debt? Why You Need a Food Budget