When creating a monthly budget, many monthly expenses are fixed, but one that tends to vary for most people is their grocery and food expenses. How much should you spend on your groceries? What are some ways you can avoid overspending? This article will offer some advice on creating a budget and sticking to it.
The USDA calculates Americans on average spend an average of 10% of their net income on restaurants and groceries. Based on the latest cost of food monthly report, which is a projection and recommendation on food expenses, a low-cost plan for a family of 4 would be $757.80 a month. This is no means how much you need to spend, but guideline to keep in mind when making your grocery list. Here are some tips to avoid overspending.
Create Shopping Lists: When you make your shopping list take a look in your refrigerator and pantry before heading out to see if there is anything you are two-thirds empty on, such as regularly used staples and condiments, and try to buy these when they are low to avoid making additional trips to the grocery store. Avoid buying anything you haven’t already put on the list each week.
Create a meal routine: Try to plan your meals out for the week. Such as Mondays are pasta night, Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, etc. Getting into a routine can make your food budget a little more predictable.
Create a grocery shopping routine: Try to shop on the same day every week at the same stores. This can save you time and money because you’ll know where everything is and what they carry.
Consider ordering online instead of going into the store: If you are someone who has trouble with impulse buying, ordering online and picking up at the store may be a better fit. You can create your list and come back and update before submitting. It can be easier to compare similar products and pick the most cost effective one. It gives you some time to plan out ingredients you need for recipes as well.
Download and use your grocery store’s mobile app: Most grocery stores offer digital coupons on their phone apps or website. Take a look at what is available and use the coupons you can utilize for your shopping list. Avoid just buying an item solely due to having a coupon.