Struggling to come up with a food budget for your family? If so, you are not alone. Today’s tips will help you create a food budget that is in line with what you can spend.
Before we set out to see how to create a food budget, I’ll warn you that for many people, sitting down to do this exercise is a strong dose of reality. This is often a wake-up call; so don’t be alarmed and just know that it’s normal. The best thing you can do is to move forward and make a few changes.
Here are some easy tips that will help you create a food budget:
Track your current spending.
Before you can begin to create a food budget, you need to know how much you are spending. It’s important to look at your receipts and subtract non-food items from that amount since personal care items like shampoo and toilet paper are not to be accounted for in your food budget (you can set a personal care or “other” budget but it’s not really food).
Plan 5 Meals for The Week.
One of the reasons I only plan 5 dinners per week is so that I can use up the remaining items towards the end of the week.
If you have leftover food from dinner, pack it up and eat it for lunch the next day. Not a fan of eating the same food two meals in a row? Either freeze a single portion for another lunch or skip a day. This will break up the repetition and make the meal more enticing to eat.
Towards the end of the week, I like to set up a salad bar where all the fresh produce can be used up to build a salad as the main part of the meal, a pasta salad, a quick lunch, or create a stir-fry with leftover veggies in the produce drawer.
Keep a running shopping list.
Adding things to your shopping list as they need to be replaced is always a good idea. The last thing you want to do is stand in the middle of the aisle at the grocery wondering if you need more coffee or not. Adding items to a shopping list in your phone can be helpful to make sure you don’t forget to purchase that item and have to run out to the store again midweek causing you to spend more money.
Order Groceries Online (for Pick-up or Delivery).
I’ve set up accounts with my local grocery stores to order my groceries online. This helps me eliminate impulse buys, know exactly how much I’m spending on my food for the week, and plan my meals according to how much money I have left in my budget.
I also save a lot of time. I can do my 3-grocery stop in about 30 minutes by selecting the “pick-up” option.
Reduce your dining out frequency.
Going out to eat isn’t cheap and often times not necessary if you have food already planned waiting to be used at home. Eating out in lieu of making a homemade meal is money that could be allocated towards your food budget.
Of course, you should set aside a budget for entertainment in which dining out is included. The rule of thumb here is that if you could have made that meal at home and are not celebrating a special occasion, that’s money that could have been allocated towards your family’s meals.
Do you have any budget tips you would like to share?