Creating a food budget is not that difficult if you can prioritize and take enough time to change your eating habits. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is trying to change their eating habits too quickly. Instead, you should create an ideal food budget and then set a reasonable time to achieve your goal.
The place to start is your current situation. This means that a food budget for 1 when living alone. And then the following sections will cover college students, couples, and families. At the end will be a few suggestions for how to stretch your food budget.
Food Budget for 1
Although surveys vary, the consensus is that most adults will eat on average $10 to $12 of food per day. This means budgeting for $70 to $84 per week for groceries, but it does not include dining out or ordering from restaurants.
For those who wish to establish a food budget, the first step is looking at how much you are spending right now. Then, establish a target goal that you want to meet. Be sure to include dining out and other food or beverage-related items.
Just avoiding one excursion to a restaurant each week may save you up to $20. Start small and work your way towards your goal.
Food Budget for College Students
The college student may be notorious for eating cheaply, but they face some issues in food budgeting. Namely, if they live in a dorm or group housing, cooking meals may be more difficult. Eating on campus is relatively cheap, which offers some benefits.
Ideally, college students who live together in a house can create a budget that helps save money. This means buying food in bulk and going out to eat sparingly.
Food Budget for a Family
The same applies to a food budget for a couple; you just need to add in for every additional family member in the household. The premise is the same for families as it is for college students, although there is no cafeteria.
Start with $10 per person in the household. Purchase food in bulk, and limit going out to eat. Concentrate on foods that provide plenty of nutrition and are filling.
Most Popular Budgeted Food Recipes
The key to effective food budgeting is to find inexpensive but healthy items and fill you up. What follows are some of the simplest and most popular budgeted food recipes that can be made quickly and easily.
- Black Beans & Rice
- Sticky Rice, Vegetables, & Soy Sauce
- Ham, White Beans, & Cornbread
- Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
- Oatmeal & Banana or Blueberries
Keep an eye on breakfast as that is a meal that can be quite simple and cheap yet filling and nutritious. Combining oatmeal with fruits like bananas, strawberries, or blueberries is not only inexpensive, it offers considerable nutrition and energy for the day.
A food budget for 1 is not only achievable but desirable as you save money for other needs. Just remember to start slowly and save a little more each week until you reach your desired goal.
HOW TO BUDGET FOR FOOD
Whenever we think about saving money, our minds might automatically turn toward the items of excessive spending we buy, like expensive clothes, brand-name accessories, and wasteful decorations. While it is a smart idea to cut these kinds of products out of your life, they may not be the only things you’re overspending on.
Consider your grocery budget. The average cost of groceries per month can be a lot, and it’s a significant expenditure that we all have to afford. It’s certainly an aspect of our budgets that we should all pay more attention to. Ironically, most of us would never consider saving in this area since we don’t care much about what we’re actually spending on groceries.
That being said, there’s still time to change this situation and use our money-saving actions to get the full benefits of a realistic food budget.
You can save a lot of money by following the practical tips and tricks that I will share with you below. I’ve categorized them into two types: Online Shopping, done over the internet, and Direct Shopping, which is done in-store.
I would choose online shopping for the cashback offers it provides. I guess everyone would love it for that reason. Here, you will see the applications and websites that can help you save money on groceries and keep more money in your pockets through their cashback offers and coupons.
Rakuten is the perfect website or app that I can refer to you for saving money and adding convenience to your life. After ordering a certain number of grocery items from various markets, you can get up to 10% cash back for your purchases.
Additionally, you will get $10 for signing up, so use this app to ease your online shopping difficulties and start using this tool for your food budgeting needs today.
Ibotta is almost like ‘Rakuten,’ except the difference is that with Ibotta, you have to take pictures of your grocery bills and upload them to get paid. Here you will also receive $10 for signing up and get up to 10% cash back for the purchases you make.
Drop is one of the best ways to earn cash back and save money to budget for meals. All you need to do is link your credit or debit card to the app, and then you’ll be able to see the places where you can get cashback offers for buying grocery items.
You can get points for all kinds of purchases, which you can redeem for gift cards of your choice.
FetchRewards is similar to ‘Ibotta’ in that you have to upload pictures of your receipts to get paid, but what’s different here is that you don’t need to scan the barcodes of the items you purchased to receive your rewards.
Also, you won’t get cash here, so be aware of that when considering your food budgeting needs. Instead, you’ll have to earn points so that you can get gift cards in return. Either way, you can save good money on groceries.
Coupons.com can get you many coupons and specials on groceries, household items, and other daily products near your area. To get what you need, enter your ZIP code and instantly receive the best deals in your location from their website.
The cool thing is, you can have this bright helper in the form of an app, too, and take it everywhere you go.
The only thing you need to do here is to sign up to the website, BettyCrocker.com and become a Betty member. Then you can start enjoying all the advantages it provides to lessen your grocery bills and sharpen your food budgeting skills.
You will receive coupons worth up to $250 and various recipes you won’t find on any other site. It’s a great way you can save hundreds of dollars!
It is an easy way to save money on your groceries and find a tension-free escape from the toughness of making new dishes. Tablespoon offers you $250 worth of coupons, plus you will get to know about some easy and quick recipes through them, to also help you on your food budgeting journey.
Savings.com gives you an effortless way to find coupons for both brand and generic products. So, make use of this website to save some bucks.
There are plenty of simple ways to save money on groceries while shopping in-store. They may not seem like significant or profound practices but doing any one of them could significantly change your monthly food budget for the better.
1. List Preparation
If you’re going to start someone, you’ll always want to start with list preparation. Mainly, making and sticking to a list is one of the best things you can do to budget and save money on groceries. Write down all the things you need, leave out all the things you don’t, and follow your list without unnecessary deviation.
Try not to miss putting down the important things and certainly not add anything you can or should do without. After making your list, simply head to your local stores and shop worry-free.
2. Farmers’ Market
You may know some of the farmers’ markets near your location. If so, don’t hesitate to go there and get the freshest vegetables, fruits, and meats for a reasonable price.
I can’t assure you that you’ll get the offers you need or expect there, but I can tell you that the items you buy would be worth the money you pay.
3. Organize and Check Your Fridge
Before you do any grocery shopping or monthly food budgeting, arrange the things in your fridge so that you can take inventory of what you have and what you need.
Doing this will ensure that you know which items expire soon, which things you should buy less of if you find yourself wasting food, and which products you still have enough to go on until the next shopping trip. Thus, you can save yourself from buying the same thing twice or buying things you don’t use enough of.
This way, you can save money on groceries and expand your fridge’s lifetime, too.
4. Meat on Weekends
This one may be one of the harder options to follow, but your lifestyle would improve in several ways if you were to only cook meat for yourself and your family on the weekends. You would not have to buy meat in bulk and preserve it in your freezer or fridge. Not to mention that storing them often ruins the taste of meat and its nutritious content.
So, buy less meat and enjoy your delicious meat dishes on weekends to save money and your health.
5. Get Help From Your Friends
If your friend is going shopping, don’t hesitate to ask them to take your grocery list, too. Pay in advance or give them the cash once you’ve got the receipts. This is a great way to avoid overspending on your monthly food budget because you can surely avoid buying unnecessary things following this method.
You can even make purchases for them. Whatever it may be, help each other, and save money.
6. Prepare Snacks at Home
You can stop wasting your money on unhealthy snack foods when you start preparing snacks in your home.
Generally, packed snack items aren’t worth the money you give. You’re paying more for the convenience of the product, but what companies don’t tell you is that purchasing these items is more harmful than convenient. It’s also pretty well known that they’re mostly chemicalized, which is just another reason not to include snack foods in your food budgeting plans.
Instead of buying refreshments from the stores, prepare simple snack items in your home, and enjoy your days without spending on snacks.
7. Don’t Let Brand Items Fool You
It’s easy to get tricked by the packages rather than the contents. But this is what diminishes our wallet the most when you think about it.
Comparing generic and branded items, you won’t find a big difference in quality between them. Yet, items like flour, sugar, canned vegetables, packed cereals, and some other goods will cost you much more if you buy based on brand recognition.
Sometimes the same company will produce both the generic and the brand products versions, just to increase their overall sales.
So, buy store brands in most cases to reduce your grocery bills, start budgeting for meals, and become a wiser shopper.
8. Start Planting
I would say that growing plants is the best way to escape from constantly high grocery bills, and I’m not telling you to buy farmland and do cultivation here.
It is all about doing as much as you possibly can to be conservative with your funds and make the earth a cleaner place. You don’t need to have a big yard to help yourself and the environment, either.
You can make use of even your small home by growing plants in pots or containers.
For example, if you want to eat a rich source of nutritious greens, take some fenugreek seeds and plant them in a flowerpot or any other container you have. Water your soil regularly, and within a few days, you will get a priceless medicinal crop that produces herbs, seeds, and vegetables for your food budgeting needs.
You can also grow other types of plants, such as mushrooms, wheatgrass, tomatoes, lady’s fingers, and other greens. These plants don’t need much space.
If you have a big yard, you’re even luckier because you can grow many trees and plants so that you can reduce your grocery bills and stay healthy.
9. Seasonal Items
Buying vegetables or fruits that are out of season will cost you twice the amount, usually. To stay away from excessive spending, buy products that are in season.
Besides saving your money, purchasing in-season items means that you’re getting fresher, less processed foodstuffs, and the dishes you make out of them would be tastier.
If you wish, you can pickle your favorite in-season vegetables, fruits, or greens and store them for long periods. For example, you can buy fresh apricots or avocados when they are in season and make a tasty pickle out of them so that you can have either whenever you want.
Note: Eating in-season foods will also make you healthier. So, try not to yearn too much for having foods that are out of season.
10. Don’t Take Your Kids Grocery Shopping
One of the most intelligent ways to reduce your grocery bill is not to take your kids to grocery stores if you can help it.
Children love to eat everything that looks tasty, and sometimes it’s hard to resist their begging faces. So, leave your kids at your home when possible and shop with a perfect partner or alone.
11. Eat Before You Shop
Fill your stomach with something delicious and satisfying before you go shopping. This is an excellent technique to control our hunger caused by seeing food items that are advertised to attract us.
Therefore, try to adopt this method of eating before shopping to keep you from buying unnecessary food items when you are shopping and helping you stick to your monthly food budget in the process.
12. Shop When You Are Free
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it may actually be a bit tough to avoid shopping when you aren’t feeling 100% or can’t give grocery shopping your full attention. Try not to rush because you may grab things that are useless or miss getting something you need. Rush shopping or distracted shopping will make you messier, wasting both your time and money.
13. Prepare A Meal Plan
Take a worksheet and copy down the meals you intend to eat for seven days.
You can add simple soups, salads, and sandwiches, to save yourself time. Stick your meal plan list on the refrigerator or anywhere you feel comfortable, and follow it closely. The truth of the matter is that you must stick to the plan, or you’ll still find yourself wasting money outside of your monthly food budget.
That’s it. You can easily make your own low-costing budget list, and more importantly, you can save your energy, too.
14. Roadside Vendors
Don’t overlook roadside vendors. You might be surprised by buying vegetables and fruits from them rather than from supermarkets.
The prices would be considerably lower, and the remarkable part is that their products are just as fresh.
15. Avoid Buying Individually Wrapped Items
Individually wrapped things are usually overpriced and always wasteful. Maybe it is just a single-wrapped banana or separated chicken breasts, but you are wasting your money buying them.
They are charged for the seller’s convenience, not for the quantity or quality of the products. So, think about this when considering ways to save on groceries.
Please provide your comments below and let me know all the topics you’d be interested in to maximize your savings.
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