Food is one of the largest expenses in your budget, after housing and transportation. Budgeting for food is essential to keeping track of your finances. It is important to watch your spending in this area. Be sure not to waste food. That is like throwing money away.
Plan menus for the week. Review grocery ads either online or the paper version. Stores generally have items on sale each week that are considered “loss leaders”. These are items on sale at or below cost that are intended to entice you to shop at their store. The trick here is to plan meals around the sale items. Budgeting for food requires preparedness. Just buy the items that are on sale. If other items are cheaper at other stores, buy them there. You will find that certain items are on sale every 12 weeks or so. If it is an item you use on a regular basis, and you have space to store excess, you may consider buying enough to last until the item goes on sale again.
Always shop with a list. That way you save time and money by eliminating stops at the store to get things you forgot, and avoid buying things you didn’t intend to. Keep that list handy so family members can add to the list when they use the last of an item. Don’t forget to include items for lunches so you don’t have to eat out every day.
Keep an inventory. This will let family members know what is available for after school or evening snacks. This will also keep you from buying items that you already have on hand. Try websites such as supercook.com and myfridgefood.com that suggest recipes based on the ingredients you already have.
By: Katrina Harder, CPA, Centra Finance Specialist
More about Katrina: I live in the suburbs of Gnaw Bone, Indiana and am the single mother of 3 and the grandmother of 5. I completed my degree in Accounting attending school part time while working full time. I enjoy sewing, reading and the Cincinnati Reds!