Create A Grocery Budget

grocery shoppingI know there are so many of us out there are worried about money. It’s easy to feel like we have no control over our economic circumstances.

There are some things we can control. Even though we can’t control grocery prices we can create a grocery budget to lower what we actually pay at the grocery store.

 Fundamentals of Budgeting

Before making your grocery budget, you need to decide how much you actually have available for groceries each month.

To do that, first  take an inventory of all of your fixed expenditures.  Fixed expenses are expenses that don’t change. Examples are your mortgage payment, car payment, insurance and some utility bills (cable, and phone for example).

After that you have your flexible expenses which along with groceries, include gas, clothing, entertainment, and utility bills such as electricity.

Your flexible expenses are usually the only ones you have control over changing. I say usually because some fixed expenses can be eliminated such as cable (you can do without it if you have to) and car payments (you can sell the car if you have to).

Personally, I like my cable so I try to lower my flexible spending first.

What to do First

Most families tend to eat the same things every month. So make a list of all the usual meals your family eats.

Now look at each meal and see how you can economize that meal. Look for lower priced alternatives.

Of course, shop sales and use coupons. And if you have room, stock up on often used food items that can be frozen or have a long shelf life.

You can shop different stores to take advantage of their specials but only do this if they are close to one another. With the price of gas, you aren’t saving much if you have to drive all over town to save a few cents here and there.

Packaged foods are much cheaper when made from scratch instead.  Also store brands are usually just as tasty as name brands but can be up to half the price of them.

Eliminate snacks as much as possible. Specially the kind that have empty calories and little to no nutrition. If you really want to buy snacks, buy things that are healthy such as fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc. At least that way you are getting some nutrition for your food dollar.

How to Keep Going

Once you know how much you are going to spend each week, stick to it for at least  months and adjust it as necessary.  If you find you keep going over budget, look over your receipts and figure out where the extra money is going to.

But don’t stop just because you feel like it’s not working. Your food budget is a work in progress. And it’s not set in stone. Tweak and adjust.

Keep a grocery journal to keep track of what you spend each week and how much groceries cost.

I’d love to hear what your tips are to sticking to a food budget. Please leave a comment and tell us!





5 thoughts on “Create A Grocery Budget

  1. I like to save change and when I get about 50 dollars or so cash it in and keep it in an envelope and when there is a really good sale on a few things I use some of it to stock up a little extra. And home canning saves us alot on our food budget. I like to freeze items like cheese and butter and frozen pizzas if they are cheap enough, but we lost our power for four days and so I’ve changed my mind about so much frozen stuff.

  2. I love the idea about the change. I do something a little similar. I have been keeping it in a huge water container (the kind used on eater coolers) and when it’s full, I’m going to cash it in and take the family in on a nice vacation.
    I changed my mind about freezing so much too since we seem to have at least one hurricane hit us every year to cause the power to go out for days.

  3. I just love all your ideas on how to save money. I like to write about this sort of thing on my blog too.

    I find that there is a lot of information out on the Internet about how to save money when couponing, but I’m really glad I stumbled upon your site, Cathy. You seem to have it all together. Thanks for posting so all the moms out there can find a way to save a little more jingle when they’re planning their family’s meals.


  4. Thanks so much Rachel! No I definitely don’t have it all together but after years of doing certain things, it just becomes second nature, you know?
    Love your site. Very inspirational!

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