How to Create a Grocery Budget that Actually Works For You
Sticking to a grocery budget will help you save and keep a check on your spendings.
As there are expenses that aren’t in your control such as mortgage payments and rent, it’s advisable to keep a check on expenses that are in your control such as your food spending. Here are a few easy steps to make a food budget that works for you and will help you save a significant sum of money.
Before you it down to draft your grocery budget, you should research a little to understand your food spending habits.
Check your receipts and bank statement for previous month’s groceries.
Include all the seemingly small and insignificant purchases such as a packet of wafers to get an accurate amount.
You might want to go one step further and also calculate the takeouts and restaurant bills as they also influence your grocery budget.
Note down both the amounts separately and divide them on the basis of how you’d like to eat and spend.
An example of some of the few categories is coffee runs, eating out, takeaways, groceries, etc. feel free to adjust the categories according to your lifestyle.
To get perfectly accurate amounts, perform this for 2 different months and average the amounts spent. Let this be your starting point.
Set a Realistic Goal
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to set a goal that’s realistic and easy for you to achieve.
Do you want to cook more and eat less outside?
Or do you want to spend less on your groceries?
If yes, by what per cent?
Answering these questions will help you understand what you wish to achieve and work towards it.
The key to achieving any goal is to have clarity and the right strategy.
Stick to the Goal
The hardest bit about having a goal is — you got it right — sticking to it.
Here are a few pointers on how to stay glued to your goal:
Examine what you’re spending more on
Is it meat or is it your coffee runs?
Consider switching on to cheaper alternatives such as cheaper cuts or making your own coffee.
Track on a weekly basis
You want your monthly budget to last all month.
To ensure that you don’t end up with a few dollars by the end of the month, it’s wise to analyse your spendings every week.
Switch to Cash
If tracking and analysing sounds too much to you, simply change your payment method.
Divide the cash for four weeks and keep them in four separate envelopes.
You’re more mindful of your spending when you physically hand out physical money as opposed to cards.
Learning How and What to Save on
If you want to make a few budget cuts, we recommend checking the following areas:
Finding stores that offer great discounts can take a little time and effort but it’s worth the effort.
Not all stores offer good discounts on all the items.
Therefore, search for a store that does or consider buying different things from different stores.
Memberships and Coupons
Take a minute or two to understand the deals offered by the store you visit.
Most of them offer coupons or memberships that will help you save a significant amount of money.
Create Meal Plans
Making a weekly or monthly meal plan will help you stick to your list and avoid all unnecessary purchases.
You can also take help of meal planning apps such as Big Oven and Forks Over Knives.
Reduce your Meat Intake
The best way to shrink your bill is to reduce your meat consumption.
Start small by eliminating 1-2 meat mains each week.
Consider Buying the Store Brand
Branded items are costlier than the local store’s brand items but are generally of the same quality.
It’s no surprise that items sold in bulk are cheaper.
Buy food items in bulk that you regularly consume such as milk, sugar, salt, etc.
Reduce your Food Wastage
Bulk buying is a money saver but by no means does it mean that it’s okay to throw away perfectly good food.
Keep track of expiration dates and consume what you buy before it goes bad.
Reducing your grocery bill can seem hard especially if you’re just starting out. However, it gets easier with time as you get more habituated and mindful of your spendings.
Shristi likes to write about Food, Finance and everything in between.