My grocery budget has seriously fluctuated over the past few months. I’ve tried to keep it steady by sticking to a monthly budget, yet somehow I always go over. Months ago I was able to stick to a budget and would even come under most of the time, however as of late it’s been a challenge. Maybe I’m eating more or is it because I’ve been entertaining a lot this year. I’m not certain either way. I am certain that I need to get my grocery spending under control again.
My Grocery Budget
I started to budget for my groceries at the same time I started this blog. In order to be on the same page with my finances, a budget was something to use as a guidance when grocery shopping. I’m not going to lie, grocery shopping is pretty exciting for me. Budgeting ahead, looking for deals and hoping to come under my budget is pretty exciting.
I enjoy food A LOT, yet despite my love for food I knew that I needed to curb my food spending. I knew that if I was a smart grocery shopper, and purchased all the goodies I wanted and more importantly needed that I wouldn’t be eating out at all.
So, with keeping all the above in mind I created a monthly grocery budget of $90. Yes, you read correctly, only $90 in total for food for a month for a single person. I also wanted to simplify my shopping, so I broke my budget down into two. Essentially I would budget $45 for food bi-weekly (every pay period). And this worked for months and months for me. However, as of late I’ve been spending $140-$170 per month on food. I’m determined to get my food budget back in check by working extra hard starting this weekend and even if that means cutting back on some goodies- such a meat.
How Much Should YOU Spend On Food?
That totally depends. It depends on a lot of things actually. Things such as what your goals are, how you’re paying for your groceries and do you even budget for your groceries. Furthermore your budget will also depend on your eating habits. Are you eating healthy? If that’s the case, it will cost you more. Do you eat a lot of meat? It will cost you more.
I mentioned briefly above about spending habits. If you pay with cash, you’re more in control of your spending. If you pay with your credit-card or debit card, your spending is pretty wide open. I ALWAYS pay cash because it’s a great way to see quickly how much money I’m going in and can calculate throughout my grocery shopping trip.
Another factor that determines how much you spend on your groceries is where you live. If you live within the city, don’t be surprised to be paying more. If you’re in a rural area, you have options of visiting local farms (buying directly) and farm markets.
There are too many variables that go into determining how much you should spend on groceries. I think the answer is going to be different for everyone, so I’m not going to suggest whats best for you, instead I will leave you with a few suggestions when grocery shopping.
Grocery Shopping Trip Suggestions
Can’t pronounce it? Don’t buy it.
It’s a simple rule to keep in mind, simply because you probably don’t know what you’re buying in the first place. Maybe you’ve heard about it, but do you actually know how it will benefit you? If not, don’t buy it. There are tons of food with fancy terms, most of them are there to confuse us sadly.
Plan meals ahead.
Yes, this takes time. Yes, you need to plan ahead. Yes, it will take you time to get used to this method. You don’t need to plan for the whole month, but try it at least on weekly basis.I highly suggest that you spend a Sunday afternoon preparing something that will last a couple of days for leftovers, and take it from there. Some nights you’ll order in or eat out, and for the rest of the nights in the week, you can plan ahead what you’ll cook. Remember, in order to keep things fresh you need to mix it up. Eating the same thing on the same day of the week will get dull pretty quickly.
Less meat = cheaper grocery budget
This is tough for anyone, unless they’re a vegetarian. Meat is delicious. However, the reality of your grocery budget is something different. Truth is that most of your grocery budget will go towards meat. That’s unless you budget for meat. Meat is expensive, and unlike fruits and vegetables, the nutrients you gain from it can be easily gleaned from other sources, namely beans, nuts and eggs.
I’m not saying you should eliminate meat totally from your budget. Instead buy more veggies and less meat. I split my meat shopping into two parts. I don’t eat pork and hardly eat fish. So, on my first monthly grocery trip the only meat I buy is chicken, and on the second monthly grocery trip I only buy red meat. It’s worked for me and I’ve been able to keep my budget in check most of the time.
You don’t have to eat poorly in order to save on groceries. You just have to create a budget, look at the flyer’s and have a plan of action. This is the only way to save on your groceries, because as we all know, coupons on meat, veggies and dairy products don’t really exist.
How do you save on groceries? How much do you spend every month on groceries?