Helpful Budgeting Tools - Shopping for Your Food
Shopping for Food - Budgeting Tips
Everyone needs food and someone in every household needs to shop for it. Its smart to have a budget for your food needs and wants in life. The market or grocery store is just another place where can easily over spend and buy things we don't really need. Having a budget can help us to stay on track and there are some great tips that were shared with me that I want to pass on here.
* Be a well informed shopper. Know your local stores, their sales and compare prices and quality. Going for the best value overall is key, in my opinion. Gathering up store fliers from the newspaper ads or the Internet can save you money. For core items and specialty types of items, shop sales.
* Plan Weekly Menus. This can actually be fun, or you can just do a basic menu to get it done. Trying out new recipes can be fun and add some spice to life. If you are at a loss, or especially if you have some "pickys" in the house, enlist the help of others to get their input for meal ideas for lunch or for dinner. Ask them what is needed for the ingredients, etc.
* Mix things up a bit. If you have a favorite kind of food that you tend to eat a lot, consider changing that a bit. You can even still have it once a week, like we always have an Italian dinner, usually spaghetti, every week. Try new things though as well. Ask others in the house for input, or get creative yourself. We recently got a new Sushi book with recipes, etc. We have never cooked that in the house before. It would be fun. Get that down on the list, and find a way to budget higher ticket items in by going less expensive on another night, perhaps.
* Using Coupons can save you several dollars every shopping visit. A quick glancing through the coupons, and you can tell what you can use quickly or not. Have a coupon system so that you don't leave them at home, or forget to give them to the checker. You can save several dollars every visit. Put that money into a vacation can perhaps. My grandmother did this and you would be amazed what you can save.
* Schedule in nights where you can go out to eat. Decide on what works best, maybe once a month, or once a week depending on how important this is to your family. Another option of course is to take out, get some Chinese food or pizza for a change. For some people , going out or getting take out doesn't mean that much to them. It's a personal choice and some families really look forward to this. Just make room for it in the budget, don't get caught up in spending too much to make it happen or racking up credit card debt for it. Its all to easy to do.
Some Final Tips for Saving
Determine what your food budget is based on past purchases for groceries and eating out or getting take out.
Get help or input at least from the whole family on what they like. That you cared enough to ask them may mean a lot more than you would have thought.
Cut out things like junk foods that you don't really need. This is an amazing way to cut costs and put the money toward more meaningful meals or new fun things. You can save a lot here by simply applying the discipline to cut it the unnecessary things.
It can be helpful to use some program for tracking food and eating expenses. You know what you are spending, and can work from there on your food budget.