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How to Curb Overspending on Food

Last time, I wrote about the naughty word “overspending,” and how we can live more at peace with it. Now, I share a practical strategy about how to curb your overspending.

Do you know what the biggest struggle most of us have? Overspending on our food budget. We are all feeling this particular rising cost! Grocery costs have increased; restaurant costs have increased; every cost around food production and supply chains have increased!

And we as consumers are dealing with the blunt end of this costly stick. Our wages have stagnated while our costs of living continue to rise. Not a great combination…

How do we address overspending on something food, where many things are out of our control? We identify the things that are within our control.

A common culprit lately for food overspending – across the income-level board – is food delivery. It’s just. So. Effing. Convenient.


Thanks to the pandemic, efficiency in food delivery and the exponential growth in the number of restaurants who offer it has completely changed our eating habits. I can safely say that many of us struggle to break the habit of Postmating or UberEating our meals, even though we no longer live in full pandemic times.

But just remember how expensive it can get to rely on food delivery regularly. Let me give you an example: To celebrate my love on Valentine’s Day, let’s say I order from one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, SugarFish, as an example:

If I were to personally pick up an order of two To-Go Trust Me’s ($70 total base price), I would pay $92.75 inclusive of tax, a 3% health insurance surcharge for staff, and a 20% tip.

But if I were to order delivery from Postmates, the same exact order would cost me $114.38, inclusive of 20% tip and:

    • Delivery fee of $5.99
    • Merchant fee of $11.20
    • California Driver Benefits of $0.50

That’s a difference of $21.63! That’s the cost of 2 whole meals at In & Out!

So, if you must order takeout, consider calling the restaurant directly or using their online order service to call it in and pick it up yourself. That way, not only do you save money in exchange for some time to drive there – you also put more of your dollars directly in the restaurant’s coffers.

For your other categories of overspending, are there things you can change that are within your control? Get out a pen and paper or open up your Notes app to reflect on some questions that might help you understand this:

  • Are you aware of your spending triggers?
  • Do you have enablers in your camp, such as friends or family, who might guilt trip you into spending more than you are able to?
  • Is lifestyle creep creeping up on you? I.e., are you bringing in more income but your lifestyle is more expensive than that threshold?

Like I said, we’re in this together. Let me know how I can support you through your financial journey!