You might look closely at your daily expenses and ask where you can cut back to save money and meet your financial goals. Although some costs may be set, such as mortgage and car payments others are flexible.
Your food budget is one of those flexible or variable expenses. Whether you’re actually dining out or ordering in, there are ways to cut around it.
If you cook at home, here too you can give your purse a little boost. Take the fat out of your budget and take food costs into account. Here are some meal plans you can use for your family.
Make a Master List of Your Go-To Meals
Ask all of your family members for a list of their favorite foods. Prioritize the list, emphasizing meals that don’t need too many ingredients. Organize this list by type of food like animal and non-animal products and beyond.
Gather the recipes, keep them all in a convenient notebook, or store them for quick access. If you prepare your meals, you sometimes refer to this list and plan it thoroughly into three full meals.
Prepare More Than One Meal at Once
You are more likely to miss meals or hit the drive-thru when you don’t prepare breakfast and lunch along with dinner.
You can make breakfast foods quick and straightforward, and you can still head out of the door on time in the morning with some careful planning.
You may also use the leftovers to make lunches from the previous night’s meal. Allow an extra serving at dinner time or many extra servings to prepare for the brown bag lunch the next day.
Check Out What’s Left Before Buying New Food
Food waste is quickly piling up so prepare to reduce it as soon as possible. Check your fridge, freezer, cabinets, and pantry for what you already have before entering the store.
Practice the maxim on “first in, first out.” This means that behind the older things, you eat what is oldest and rotate new products.
This way, you can quickly hit products closer to their expiry dates and reduce the risk of wasting food. Another smart trick is freezing half your loaf of bread to avoid food waste.
Try purchasing half of your product now and stop at the supermarket for a quick midweek stop to catch up on the items. This way, you still have new products on hand, and nothing is being wasted.
Create food menus that you already have and choose weekly recipes that include overlapping ingredients. If shopping from home is offered in your area, some of the grocery services allow you to compare prices between products to get value.
Being willing to save money on food means being organized and going in with a plan. Plan your meals for a week, make a list, and stick to it to minimize the impact of buying.
Unit price is a strategy of savings sometimes overlooked. Buying a larger food you want, because it has a lower unit price helps you save money in the long run.
Strictly Budget Your Meals
Set a budget before you go, and make sure you can raise anything you need in advance with that budget. Then, make every effort to stick to your list. Don’t catch a bunch of stuff you haven’t intended to do unless necessary.
It’s best to schedule $125 a month per family member as a thumb rule for healthy food budgets.
It will work out to about $500 a month for a family of four. If you have special dietary requirements, live in a high-cost-of-living area, or eat organic food, you will need to pay more.
Keeping an inventory of your food is one of the easiest ways to keep track of it. Once a month, take a piece of paper and go through your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator and write down what you need to eat before it expires.
Don’t Use too Many Ingredients
Many recipes call for a specific ingredient you do not have. What does the ingredient cost? Will it come in a big or small package? Could you use it before it goes bad?
Buying an ingredient may not be worth the cost if you’ll just use it once. Replace the ingredient with something you have at home. Experimenting while cooking is fun and the finished dish can surprise you.
Strictly following these steps can help you budget your family meals wisely. Take these guides religiously and start planning your meals now.