One of the things that we all have to spend a decent chunk of our monthly income on is food. It’s a basic expenditure, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t budget carefully for it and find ways to reduce your spending if you think it might be getting a little out of control. There are many great ways of doing that and we’re going to discuss them all with you right here today. Here’s how to budget your food spending better.
Tracking Your Spending & Create a Budget
You should start by looking at your current situation with regards to spending money on food. You can’t make changes and improvements until you know what your current spendings are. From there, you can see where you’re spending the most money and where changes can most easily be made.
It’s a good idea to put a solid budget in place for how much you want to spend on food each month. Create a personalized budget that takes into account your monthly bills and decide how much money you will be allotting for food. To get you started, click below to access my comprehensive family budget template in the Resource Library.
Cook at Home
If you and your family enjoy eating out often, this is one area of expenditure that you can limit that will make a big difference in your monthly budget. The more you cook at home, the more comfortable you will feel in the kitchen. For my family, the idea of dirty dishes can also be a deterrent to wanting to cook at home. In a pinch, don’t hesitate to use disposable plates if that will help you sustain your habit of cooking more at home.
Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started cooking!
Create a Meal Plan
“What do you want to do for dinner?”
“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
Does this conversation sound familiar? This is basically a daily exchange that my husband and I have, and it often leads to frustration, wasted time, and dissatisfaction. It also often leads to us getting takeout when we have plenty of groceries that need to be used in our fridge.
By planning meals ahead of time and deciding which meals you’re going to have in your rotation, it takes out the unpredictability from your shopping trip. You’ll get to know which ingredients you need for which recipes and you won’t end up buying things impulsively. The last thing you want to do is buy food and forget to use it in time, wasting food and money in the process. I find it extremely helpful to have, at minimum, a list of meals that my family enjoys and that I know how to make without a recipe to reference when I’m looking for meal ideas.
Need ideas for family friendly meals? Check out my Pinterest board for lots of vegan, vegetarian, Asian, and family-friendly meal ideas.
Make Better Use of Your Leftovers
A great way to take full advantage of leftovers is to repurpose the food into a new and tasty dish. When you put those leftovers to good use and make meals out of the items that were left behind, you can create whole new meals and start to get a little more creative with your cooking. It will also save time but giving you a jump start with already cooked ingredients. A few weeks ago, I had leftover Spanish rice that I was getting tired of but didn’t want to waste. I added cheese and salmon to the dish and made a brand new, delicious dish that my family loved. Make sure your food is stored appropriately in order to get the most time and freshness out of your leftovers.
Budgeting for the food you buy will help you to know what you’re spending money on and better manage your cash when it comes to food. Start by taking a few easy steps; you’ll be glad you did.