Budgeting can be very intimidating. But the truth is, if you are willing to create a food budget that works for you and stick to it, you will find you have more money, more time, and less stress than ever before!
How does that sound?
Let’s get started and look at 8 simple tips for sticking to your food budget.
1. Meal Plan
The next thing that I do to stick to my budget is meal planning. Eating clean is super important to me and the only way I am able to do this on a budget is by buying organic foods in bulk, meal planning and prepping one day a month.
My meal plan usually takes me about 2-3 hours and then I am done for the month with 10-15 meals ready to go in the freezer.
Doing this saves me time, I cook way less often but enjoy plenty of homecooked meals. It saves me money because with meal plans, I can get meals per person down to $2.00. Sometimes less.
2. Use cash for buying food!
This is a big one. If you use cash, you are less likely to overspend.
Don’t worry I’m not asking you to walk around with your full monthly budget in your pocket. Instead split up your grocery trips and only take the cash you need with you.
I tend to shop twice a month so if my monthly grocery budget is $500, I will spend $300 for the first half of the month and then spend $200 the second half of the month. (I only meal plan during one of these trips.)
Look at your budget and decide how often grocery shopping works for you. Once a month? twice a month? weekly? And then decide what you want to spend on each trip.
I recommend putting the cash in envelopes and labeling them, so you know what the money is for.
3. Use your freezer!
I cannot stress enough how much money my freezer has saved me. We avoid processed foods and try to each as clean as possible so most of the items we eat don’t have much of a shelf life.
The freezer allows foods to last longer. I also use the freezer for my meals after meal planning or to freeze leftovers if I make a big batch of soup.
I even like to make my own jam, tortillas, bone broth, and other items in bulk so that I have them at the ready in the freezer when I need them.
4. Eat Leftovers!
Always cook recipes that make more servings then your family may need in one setting. This will help you have leftovers for lunch, or to freeze and eat for a dinner later in the month.
My meal plans are designed to feed my family two meals for this reason. I also tend to double recipes I find whenever possible.
5. Use your fresh ingredients for dinners first.
After shopping always use fresh ingredients for a couple meals in the week before your frozen meals. After I prep my meal plan for the month, I always have an assortment of leftover fruits and veggies.
I try to use up those fresh foods for a couple of meals a week in the first half of the month.
I use my freezer meals for days that I do not want to cook or have a busy day. That way I am using up all the things I bought and not wasting anything.
6. Make a grocery list…and stick to it!
Some tips for sticking to your budget are don’t go shopping when you are hungry, don’t feel the need to spend all your budget money, bring the grocery list with you printed out, and even order your groceries online for store pickup if you really struggle with impulse shopping.
Bonus if you do have money left over you can use it for whatever you want. Luxury grocery items, stock up on staple items, save it or even go out to dinner for an extra night out.
7. Buy items that have not been prepped for you.
When you shop you can buy fruit whole or precut fruit. It may be nice to bring that fruit home ready to eat but you are paying extra for someone to prep that food for you. It is always a better deal to buy items whole.
8. Don’t be afraid to shop at multiples stores and in bulk.
I almost always make stops at two stores on my shopping trips.
My first stop is at a bulk store (Costco, Sam’s club, etc.…) anywhere I can buy great quality organic ingredients in bulk to use in my meal prep. Then I go to a place like Kroger, Meijer’s or Aldi for the items I don’t need in bulk. Like Mayo, green onions, etc.…
It may sound like a lot of time to go to multiple stores, but it can be great! Use it as a family outing, or if that sounds stressful go alone or with a friend and make it into something fun for yourself.
So now you have 8 simple tips to stick to your food budget! Take all or some of these ideas and try them for yourself!
Sticking to a budget will help give you financial peace of mind whatever the state of your finances.
Knowing that I could gain some control over our food budget has helped our family when going from a two income household to one.
The money you will save could go toward a family vacation! Or a weekend getaway with your partner or maybe even a second honeymoon.
The possibilities are endless!
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