If you’re hitting the road this summehttp://www.californiawithkids.com/?p=1442&preview=truer, you want an easy way to shave a few bucks off the budget. We’ve logged enough miles on a sparse enough budget to speak with some authority on this matter, so read our tips below and save money in good health.
If you watch your food budget, you can literally add an extra day to your trip, which is what we’re trying to show you here. These seven easy tips can save you $15 a day per person in your party. So let’s do this.
Check out the rest of our Road Trip Packing series:
– Road Trip Food Packing Advice Summary
– Best Road Trip Beverages
– Best Road Trip Snack Foods
– Best Road Trip Cup o’ Foods
– Best Road Trip Microwaveable Foods
– Comprehensive Road Trip Packing Checklist
– Smart Things to Pack Before Your Road Trip
1 – Skip the Restaurants, Pack it From Home
Instead of dropping $15-$50 every few hours for the duration of your trip, hit the supermarket and load up on low-cost items you can snack on in the car, or in your hotel room. Instead of buying breakfast, eat cereal you brought from home. Instead of going out for dinner, use the hotel microwave to heat up some quick and easy favorites.
2 – Buy Big, Package Yourself
If you want to buy chips, crackers or cereal, the very most expensive way to do it is in single serving portions. Instead, by big quantities of each and put them in Ziploc bags. You can easily choose what size to make and you’ll save a few bucks along the way. Also, you’ll get to skip the flavors in the combo pack nobody ever wants.
3 – Bring Paper Bowls and Normal Canned Foods
You can buy single-serving ravioli, soup and a ton of things where you just pop the top and throw it in the microwave. These cost roughly double what their “normal can” counterparts do. It’s much cheaper to buy the regular cans and bring your own bowls to microwave it.
4 – If Hotel Has Free Breakfast, Double Down on It
Sometimes it’s nice to sleep in, and maybe you don’t normally eat breakfast, but if you’ve already paid for it, take advantage of it. Further, consider pocketing a banana, bagel or muffin for your lunch. Right there you got two meals for the day taken care of.
5 – Pocket Drinks with you Everywhere
It’s easy to stop and buy a costly drink, whether on the road or at an attraction. Instead, keep some low-cost drinks with you to satisfy your thirst. We bought a variety of 1-liter flavored waters at Wal-Mart for $0.33 each, and some more for $0.68 each. These will save us from $3 drinks when we’re out and about. That’s a 9-fold markup from what we can just bring with us.
6 – Keep Granola Bars in Your Pocket
It’s too easy to get hungry in the middle of the day, when you’re far from your food stash and even further from a low-cost restaurant. You don’t need a $8 slice of pizza to satisfy you when a $0.40 cent granola bar (or two) can tide you over just as well. Avoid chocolate-slathered ones, as they’ll become a sticky mess on a hot day.
7 – Value Menu, Value Menu, Value Menu
Did I mention “Value Menu?” Consider this; a value meal at McDonald’s costs about $7. That’s not cheap. You could go to Red Robin and get way more food for about $8, though you’d have to drink drink water. But for $3 at McDonald’s you could get a 32-ounce drink and two McChicken sandwiches or McDoubles. That’s less than half the price and almost as much food. This is true at most places.