How To Create A Monthly Budget For Food

Sandy Baker

Food is not something we can do without. Cutting back on your food bill, though, can leave you with a substantial amount of money left in your pocket at the end of the month. The problems is that most people do not know what they have to do to make that happen. By creating a monthly food budget can be a perfect way to save.

Take Julie, for example. She is a mother of two and is married to Christopher. They work hard but barely make ends meet. When the two of them sat down to determine just where their money was going, Julie was shocked to see that they were spending more than $170 a week on food. That was $600 on just food per month. So, they decided to do something that most would never do. They decided to track their food budget.

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For the next month, Julie and Christopher kept a small notebook with them and any time they bought any type of food product, they jotted it down. In fact, it became a competition to see who was spending what and to see who was doing a better job keeping track. At the end of the month, the results were in. They had spent a total of $853 on groceries.

They found that some was going towards the grocery store, but they spent a considerable amount on restaurants, coffee shops and at the gas station when they just stopped in to get something for dinner. Now, what would you do with this information?

Julie did something she had not done before. She decided to create a monthly budget for food. What she found was that it was not difficult to do. Here are some steps that she followed.

  • Track spending to determine what areas you are spending your money on.

  • Determine ways to cut. For example, Julie invested $26 in a coffee maker and bought flavored coffees that she and Christopher enjoyed and saved the $58 they had spent on coffee shop money. Stopping at the gas station where things were more expensive was important to them as well.

  • Make a basic weekly grocery allowance. Since they were already established, she had most of what she needed to cook available the first week such as spices and basics. By making a menu for each week, she saved herself time too. She knew what to pull out for dinner and have no worries about having to run out to pick something out. She found that she could cut her grocery budget down to about $100 per week.

  • Later, she started to cut back on foods they didn't need and made them herself. For Sunday breakfast, she made French toast and made enough for another meal down the road. She also baked a batch of cookies instead of buying packaged and the kids loved it.
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By taking the necessary time to track spending and then in making a monthly budget, Julie found herself saving money. They actually treated themselves to dinner out at the end of the month since they had save several hundred dollars and now could say they could afford it.

About The Author: Sandy Baker is a freelance writer for a variety of online newsletters. She is a published writer who regularly provides useful tips that people can use to better their lives.

May 11, 20060 found this helpful

I have been doing this for 5 years, and redoing it every time we moved to a new area. I make almost everything from scratch (except for a few things for DH's lunches) and we give the kid's watered down juice instead of "fruit drinks." I am a big label reader, and I don't buy anything unless I can identify all the ingredients and I know they won't be bad. That saves a lot of money on health costs too! Because I have to drive 20 miles to the best savings for groceries, we stock up every two weeks, and only buy milk and produce as needed. I do not go to walmart anymore, I switched to a pharmacy drive through to avoid buying snacks and toys and save time; I also save two dollars on my prescription! My dog food is purchased at the local feed shop, and came out to be 4 dollars cheaper than the shop in the larger town I was driving to. That saves me A LOT on gas!

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November 13, 20110 found this helpful

I'm so glad I found this forum/thread. Thank you so much for sharing the tips or steps on How To Create A Monthly Budget For Food. This is very helpful especially to those mothers out there with large family size. Thanks!

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January 28, 20150 found this helpful

Being single, I buy myself a grocery store gift card, $150 at a time, and make it stretch for a month. Budget? Indeed!

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May 9, 20150 found this helpful

Great post on keeping a budget for food shopping. I am alone, but have been before now always cooking for a very large family. So I still have that instict to buy in quantity. Now, I make my list out each week by looking at the store flyiers and going to 2-3 different stores each weekend. Before this I was using The Pea Pod Delivery because I do not drive and it was a convience. Now, my sons take turns coming up and taking me shopping and the greatest benifit of all is I get to see not only my children(adults) but also lots of Grandchild. This acomplishes many things in my life in just a few hours of fun!

Jackie H.

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