Food Budgeting Q & A
How to Get Your Food Budget Under Control
Q: Why is food difficult to budget for?
A: We eat everyday. We have to, right? Even if we’ve already blown our budget for the month, we still have to eat. Also, we tend to do whatever is convenient, especially when we are busy or tired. Our good intentions can go right out the door when life is hard. Finally, we aren’t very good at keeping track of what we really pay for our food. Not just groceries, but restaurants, school lunch plans convenience food and snack are all apart of the food budget.
Q: How can I be better at budgeting for food?
A: The first step is to be honest about your spending. If you really eat out a lot, include that in your budget. Even better, figure out why you are going for the convince food trap. Do you have sports nights or late meetings every Thursday, for example? If you can plan for it, make something ahead of time. Ready to bake casseroles, crock pots started in the morning, even planning to reheat a can of soup can be strategies for saving on impulse dinners. Have a plan and you will not need convince foods.
Q: Ok. So planning ahead will help me stick to my food budget. Where do I start? How do I plan?
A: Use a weekly menu planner that you like. There are digital ones, but I suggest starting with paper and pencil. Start your meals with your favorites. Your easy family pleasers. Look at what ingredients you already have in the house. Also, use the grocery circular and plan meals around sales – especially with proteins that can be expensive.
Q: Any other tips to keep the food budget under control?
A: Use the sales ads to plan your grocery trip. They come int he newspaper, but are also on the store’s website, e-mail, store app, etc. There’s no excuse for to look over the weekly ad.
Stick to your meal plan. If you buy the food and then feel too lazy to cook it and then buy drive-thru, you end up wasting double.