In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp want to help you get rich quick. Well, richer -- and without requiring you to put too much of your time in now, even if you'll have to wait to see results.
These mostly aren't hypotheticals, either -- they're tips that Brokamp has applied in his own life. In segment two, he looks to one of the largest non-fixed costs your family has -- eating -- and suggests some ways to reduce your outlays.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Jan. 9, 2018.
Alison Southwick: Day two in, "Seven Things You Can Do In Under 15 Minutes."
Robert Brokamp: No. 2 is to save on food. According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Department of Labor, food is the No. 3 item on everyone's budget. For the average family of four, they're spending more than $11,000 on food split roughly between at-home food and going-out food.
Depending on your habits, there are all kinds of ways to save on food. A couple of times in the past I have done shopping comparisons for my Rule Your Retirement newsletter comparing shopping at the local grocery store, to Costco and Sam's, to buying stuff online. Almost every time buying at a Costco or Sam's pays off tremendously.
Buying online can also pay off depending on what you're doing. We have recurring purchases for things like paper towels, toilet paper, coffee, and stuff like that. We get it cheaper, but it also shows up at our house every time, so we don't have to run out to 7-Eleven and buy paper towels.
One thing I think is a great idea is deciding you're going to spend the next week or month just eating what you already have. Americans waste about 25% of their food and most of that is because of food that they bought but then it went bad because they didn't use it. Other than things like milk or stuff like that, try to use the food that you already have. There are sites like Supercook.com, where you enter whatever ingredients you have...
Southwick: Oh, yeah!
Brokamp: ... and it will throw out some potential recipes for you.
Another one I think is to keep track of what you already have, so that you're not doubling up on stuff. For example, you can use an app like Out of Milk, which keeps track of an inventory of what you have, as well as a shopping list that can sync across other people in the household so you're not both out buying milk at the same time. If you wonder if you have enough milk, you can check the app.
Southwick: How does it know if you have enough milk?
Brokamp: Well, it takes some effort to update it, but you keep track of the things that you have.
Southwick: That probably makes more sense across a large family, where the person who finishes the last of the milk goes to the app and is like, "Out of milk, Mom."
Brokamp: Right. We have a white board on our refrigerator where people are supposed to write that stuff down. It doesn't always happen, but generally that's one way we've been able to keep track of that. Then if you're going to use this app, you just transfer it to the app and see what's missing.
Of course, there are coupons. Tons of couponing sites that will help you. And then the other one is to eat out less. Or, if you are eating out, find cheaper ways to do it, like getting online deals. Places like Groupon, LivingSocial are often offering deals where things are discounts. One of the gifts I gave to my wife for Christmas was a date night where you got two movie tickets and a $100 gift certificate to a restaurant for $35.
Or you can go to those aforementioned sites that sell gift cards. For example, if you're Steve Broido looking for the Olive Garden, you can often buy a gift card that's worth $25 for $15 or $20.
Alison Southwick owns shares of Costco Wholesale. Robert Brokamp, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.