Tips for Setting a Realistic Food Budget
Are you trying to figure out a realistic food budget for you and your family? With food prices soaring like a jet plane, sticking to a food budget may seem like a tricky task. Yet, if you make it a priority by shopping around for sales and stocking up on items, you can stick to a food budget and keep more money in your pocket.
Starting this task, keep in mind how many people you are feeding and maintain a balance between saving money and ensuring your family is getting enough food and proper nutrition.
Nonetheless, here are some fantastic tips to help you create a realistic food budget and stick to it.
#1 Track Your Grocery Spending
In order to set a realistic food budget, start with what you already have been spending. If you don’t have credit card statements that break up your spending, or if you used cash (kudos to you!) start tracking for the next week and see how much you are spending on groceries. Make sure to include stops at fast food, coffee runs, gas station snacks, and other food-related expenses. Keep in mind, these are things you can most likely cut later or plan ahead.
You can also do this by checking your credit card or debit card. What area of spending is the highest?
The key is to track your spending and keep a note of it. This will help determine how much to set aside for grocery spending in the future.
#2 Consider Family Needs and Budget Factors
Everyone has a different food budget. While planning a budget, take into consideration everyone’s dietary needs, how many people you are feeding, and prices in your area. Keep in mind, different areas have different pricing. For example, food prices in a city may be hirer than in a rural area. Hence, this is why each family’s food budget will vary.
Not to mention dietary restrictions. If you have someone in your family with allergies, a gluten intolerance, or other food restrictions, you may be paying more depending on the type of food you need to purchase to keep your family healthy.
If you have an infant, you may need a special formula and your food budget will be higher during the infant stages. It is best to plan ahead so you can stay on top of your food budget.
#3 Divide Monthly Spending into Weekly
It is often easier to budget for a week than it is to budget for a month. You can also split up bulk foods into bi-weekly budgets since they will last longer. for example, we buy snacks for Costco and don’t need to repurchase weekly. Therefore, we can plan according.
However, it is easy to spend up your monthly budget in two to three weeks. Therefore, you can split up your spending into weekly allotments, and even if you shop bi-weekly, use the cash envelope system and only spend what you planned for.
#4 Include Eating Out
Do you like to go out to eat every Friday? What is the estimated spending each week?
Can you go to a happy hour or find specials to save money?
If you are low on cash, this might be an area you can cut out for a while since it is usually cheaper to cook at home, yet everyone deserves a treat once in a while. Just make sure you have the money to cover eating out.
Related Food Budget Posts:
- How to Eat Clean on a Tight Budget
- Frugal Healthy Meal Ideas for When You Hate to Cook
- Budget Meal Plan
- Learn how to Meal Plan Series
- Cheap Meal Plan for Two
#5 Adjust as Needed
Just like any other budget, if you find you are overspending or under-estimating, you can adjust your amounts. If you start couponing or shopping for sales, you can use your extra money for other things such as eating out more or paying down debt.
Setting a Realistic Food Budget Final Thoughts…
It is easy to overspend on food since it is a must and we usually use up what we buy. However, try to keep a food budget and stock up when you find sales, so you can decrease your spending and save more. Try cooking at home to save and if you find you are overspending in the food area of your budget, come up with a plan to spend less and coupon or buy in bulk to help you lower your cost.
How do you stick to a food budget? Leave a comment and help us learn!