Creating a food budget is something many families neglect to do. While some are too caught up with daily work and chores, others meanwhile believe they should not scrimp on food. However, creating a food budget is actually advantageous for many reasons. For one, it helps you avoid unnecessary expenses to give you substantive savings. More importantly, it allows you to focus more on providing your family with healthier meals. To help you on this matter, here are the steps on how to save money with a food budget.
Step 1: Record Income and Expenses
Bring a notebook anywhere with you so you can take note of any expense that you make on food. Ask your family members about their food expenses so you can jot them down as well. Be as specific as you can on your records so you know where your money is going exactly. For example, if you went grocery shopping, indicate how much of it you spent on food. If you would rather do the recording on your computer, you can utilize spreadsheets to organize your records for the month. By the end of the month, you will be surprised to see how much money you are spending on food.
Step 2: List down Expenses
Before your next paycheck arrives, list down all your necessary expenses for the month including utility bills, home rental, insurance, children’s tuition, food, and so on. When the paycheck arrives, you can start allocating budget for each expenditure. Set aside money for the most important expenses. After that, tuck away a percentage for the savings. Then stretch what is left for food and other household expenses.
Step 3: Adjust the Budget
If your income is bigger than your expenses, that is great. However, if your expenses are bigger than your income, do not lose hope. There are many things you can do to make ends meet. For one, you can try to earn more by working extra hours, getting a second job, or having a home-based business. Aside from that, you can also lower your cost of living so you can adjust the budget accordingly. If you allocate $350 budget for food because you constantly eat out, you can cut it down to $300 and eat more often at home. Just see to it that you are realistic with your budget allocation.
Saving Money and Eating Healthy
Some people think that eating healthy is expensive but if you are creative enough, you can save money and eat healthy at the same time. First, cut down on the junk food. Soda cost more than a homemade fruit juice. Cookies and chips are more expensive than a bowl of mixed fruits. Cooking at home is not only inexpensive but also healthier. When grocery shopping, go for healthy whole foods and fresh produce. If you are complaining about how much more expensive organic produce are in the grocery, save money by growing vegetables in your garden.
Saving money on food does not mean you have to deprive yourself of this basic necessity. It simply means that you have to cut down on unnecessary food expenses that you can do without.