How To Budget On Food

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Sticking to a budget is extremely hard especially when it comes to monthly decisions on such areas as how to budget on food, cutting down on food waste and eating healthier all in an attempt to take control of overall money issues, increasing a healthier way of living and especially saving money.

In our busy hectic lives it is simply too easy to pick up…. dinner on the way home from a stressed out work day by running through one of the many local fast food drive ins. It seems to be the norm or a almost daily thoughtless ritual to carelessly throw away money by consistently eating out. For a family it adds up pretty fast and that monthly food budget is no longer a budget but a huge, ugly monthly bill or expense that keeps skyrocketing out of control.

Learning to manage your family’s food budget could be one of the biggest task simply due to not taking control of the situation, busy schedules, plus the fact of food production cost and prices are continuously rising.

Other simple everyday issues like everyone’s busy to-do list, special events, holidays, the big issue of saving time in preparation, failure to shop for discounted items and sale items, failure to plan decent family meals, not having the resources to store the items properly and most of all keeping the whole family at home for meals are just a few reasons why families cannot stick to a food budget.

Stay away from the fast food restaurants, you will keep more money in your pocket and consume healthier more enjoyable food.

Just think of the high cost of eating out and including the likes of drinks, (do you really look at the tab when you eat out? (for example 6 of us went out to eat awhile ago and all had soda drinks at $3.29 each! (that comes out to $19.74) and only a few of us had a refill… next time it will be water all around, (I can wait until I get home to have a cola or special drink).

Eating out at restaurants gets quite expensive when you add on other items such as alcoholic beverages, tax, tips and other miscellaneous items like valet services. Yikes!

Budgeting your food purchases along with the number of family members is not totally easy when you factor in other things such as the everyday stress of work, personal issues, family activities, the constant rise of food cost and what ever you have going on in your life. Yes your lifestyle and living arrangements can totally affect the money you spend each month on food.

Take a look at your checking account statement and see how many times, and how much you spend on food, drinks and snacks for a whole month by eating out, eating on the run, not being conscious of what you are spending on food. I see bank statements on a daily basis, and it amazes me the high amounts people will spend on a monthly basis for eating out, then they talk about how they never have any extra money for other things, or can not pay a bill. It is quite obvious that they do not know how to budget their money, and unconscious they completely over spend and have no idea of how to budget food costs.

The best way to start figuring out your food budget is to keep track of every food item that you buy, this includes eating out, take out/carry out food, fast food, coffee drinks, soda/water drinks, snacks from the gas station, the vending machines, impulse items.

So how do you start changing food buying habits around to save money?

Find good cookbooks like, Budget Bytes  that offers over 100 easy, and delicious recipes that will slash your grocery bill in half.                               

There are quality frozen and prepackaged meals that you can find at your local grocery stores that take less than about 30 minutes to heat and serve. Finding them on sale is even better!

Also stores are now offering freshly prepared, cooked and ready to serve meals that absolutely are healthier and less expensive in comparison to the high cost of fast food, (which consist of chemicals that we can’t even pronounce the words or know what the purpose, or what we are digesting). So check out what your local grocery stores offer, just remember most stores require call ahead ordering.

Ad comparisons of your local grocery stores should be done on a weekly basis. that is why I still get the local Sunday paper. And don’t forget the coupon section.

Coupons are like gold to a lot of shoppers, money savers and budget crunchers. It does take some time getting your coupon system down to a science, but people are saving a heck of a lot of money on thousands of products. I would suggest joining a coupon club, figuring out how to coupon on your own time, or even start your own coupon group among a few friends.

Learn not to waste food. In our frig we would have so many leftovers and open jars, containers, bags and packages of a variety of cold and shelf products, yet the problem was that once it was opened it got pushed in the back of the refrigerator or the back of the cabinet, and sat there and when it was finally discovered it was no longer crisp, it was growing some sort of green hair, or stinking to high heavens. So I would have to say learn to eat up things before opening new items, learn to cook less, learn to prepare what is needed, learn to be creative with your food items.

Discover the wonderful world of generic items instead of the name brand items. Many generic foods are actually created by name brand producers. The majority of the time when you are buying name brand products you are literally paying for the advertising and media costs for that product.

Do not allow yourself or any family member to get away with impulse buying. So many times the item is not needed or not enjoyed. Remember it is mind over matter, so do not allow all of the impulse advertising techniques take control of your mind.

The majority of grocery stores now offer their own rewards programs, where you can usually going on their website and simply by signing up you can discover valuable coupons and special rewards throughout the store on different products and on your shopping pattern. I receive text messages from my favorite store where I can save 5% to 15% on certain days.

When you figure how to budget on food the rewards will start showing in all aspects and can lead to a more enjoyable lifestyle.

You will be saving money, you can get your kitchen and food items more organized, your whole family can learn to eat healthier and the time well spent can be geared toward more quality family involvement time.


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10 Comments

  1. fmwaniki

    I agree with your post and the content.Just because people leave work tired and at times late should not give a reason to make it a habit to eat food from the hotels.I can say eating your own prepared food is much healthier because you will mix the ingredients as needed,it will be fresh and also make it balanced.This can help reduce things like abdominal upsets which can be brought by feeding on foods which have overstayed.Again above all this cuts down the cost of what is used on buying food and that cash can be utilized in better ways.

    Reply
    1. Angela

      yes it cuts down on costs and also cuts down on contamination, like one restaurant chain in the States that is dealing with a serious problem??

      Reply
  2. Lesley

    This is so true. It is very easy to overspend on food bills and let your budget go out of control. Even if you avoid the fast foods the food bill can still be high.

    This is a problem in out family and the only way that I can keep things under control is to plan a weekly menu. this includes all meals we have at home as well as snacks to take with to work or school. Without the planning we end up buying things we don’t really need and not having items we do need.

    Reply
    1. Angela

      Hello Lesley, you certainly are getting into the right mode to improve your monthly budget and your health. Why don’t others see it this way? People definitely over pay on impulse items, and not following a lists or plan.

      Reply
  3. LakanDula

    Definitely agree with this post. I can’t imagine how many times I’ve felt stupid, by throwing hundreds of dollars away on a meal at Burger King or McDonalds, when I could have spent all of that added-up money elsewhere. Since I’ve quit my job I’m forced to budget. Thank God I have my parents that cook a lot, I no longer have to resort to constantly going out.

    Reply
    1. Angela

      YEA!!! you got hit with reality and thank goodness for those wonderful parents!!. Make adjustments, keep learning to budget and figure out a savings plan….I’ll tell you the truth, it does feel good.

      Reply
  4. Boyo

    It can be so difficult to plan and prepare a family meal after a hard days work. In our case both my wife and I work long hours and are sometimes just too busy to cook when we get home. What we have began doing now though is to prepare a meal before we leave in the morning. We have a slow cooker that we use and its made all the difference. We literally brown off some meat on the pan and throw it into the slow cooker with some vegetables and perhaps some stock or a sauce. By the time we get home from work the food will be cooked and there’ll be a lovely aroma waiting for us in the kitchen!
    It has also made a noticeable difference to our weekly food bill.

    Reply
    1. Angela

      this is great information that you are sharing about cooking home made meals. I use a crockpot and as you, the meal is ready when I get home. Check out cookbooks at your local discount stores.

      Reply
  5. Marlaine

    You definitely have some great points on here, about how to budget your groceries. I’m pretty frugal with ours, as we try to stick to a budget very carefully, but groceries are ALWAYS the category that I seem to go “over” on. It’s tough.
    I’ve learned that there are a few things I can do to limit “how much we go over” though, and one is what you mentioned: actually eat the leftovers!! Another one is to select recipes (when I’m in the mood for something new) that don’t require many extra special ingredients. Those little extras add up!
    Great points. And I love that you’re recommending Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” Book – his course is brilliant, and so is the book!

    Reply
    1. Angela

      It’s great that you get the fact about budgeting and understanding about spending money at the grocery store.

      With people being over worked and living stressed filled days, they certainly can use simple recipes to prep for family dinners. Do you or does anyone else have simple recipes that you would like to share?

      Hey, I also agree that Dave Ramsey’s book is pretty good and I think it should be required reading by everyone. Perhaps I should start a reality show about competing in such an idea…What do ya’ll think about that?

      Angela

      Reply

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