There are months when my food bill would go as budgeted, then there are times things don't seem to go quite as I expect and my food budget gets all screwed up. There are times when I wonder if I needed to start my budgeting from scratch. Where had I gone wrong in the food budgeting for the month? I begin to feel like a "kitchen police" and start to count the meat pieces, the amount of rice and how much vegetables to last the week. Then, we would cook so there were little or no leftovers (because this family seems not to like leftover foods) and bake all the breads, etc. It is exhausting, but what can one do in times like this.
A Good Food Budget
A food budget is necessary because it ensures we make good choices of food when we spend our money. We have to be mindful we buy food that gives us the most amount of nutrition for our buck. Bad eating could be costly on our finance and our health.
On the other hand, most people's food budget is minimum, and they find it difficult to buy the amount of food they need within that budget. They also find it difficult to feed the family, especially as every one may have different needs depending on their cycle in life. Budgeting is challenging especially when the price of food keeps rising. I suggest, you have a look at your entire household budget with the specific intention that you will likely have to make some necessary sacrifices. It takes a good mind to stick to a budget, and a strong will to resist the urge to splurge on fast or restaurant foods. Plus a little creativity is needed to stay within your food budget. We do what we have to do to make sure the overall budget is well balance and the food budget is not compromised. Nutrition is important.
Destroying a Good Food Budget
Then I notice on those months we fell short a number of things would explain our demise. There were things we did, which may seem unrelated, but developed into bad habits that affected our food bill. We had unconsciously developed a bad habit of shopping around midday, yes, lunch time. In order to satisfy our hunger, we would buy salads and cooked meat like rotisserie chicken in the supermarket or buy a lot of snacks that we would eat while driving home.
Bad habits that cut into your food budget
Here is a list of some more bad habits that interfere with the food bill and some suggestions on how to avoid it.
- Smoking. Quit now and you can certainly save on medical bills later.
- Plan shopping time. Make sure you either eat at home before you go shopping or have the meals prepared in advanced so when you finish shopping, you know you have food at home already prepared.You can also walk with a bottle of water for when you're thirsty instead of buying a can of soda or juice.
- Buying and storing packs of candy and gum. There are healthy substitutes such as fruits, raisins, nuts, even popcorn, etc.
- Haphazard or careless shopping. Checking and writing a list of grocery items to buy before you leave home is a good idea.
- Buying treats that are too costly. Use treats instead as a reward for yourself after accomplishing something you believe was difficult to do, such as completing a project, etc.
- Eating out often. You can have the same romantic dinner at home, or have a picnic in the park with the family.
- Shopping/browsing/strolling through stores. You can avoid this activity if you think you are unable to control the urge to buy.
- Watching too much television. Advertisers are conscious of our needs, and also help us successfully create needs that are really not necessary. It helps if we find other ways of utilizing our time such as engaging in hobbies and exercises.
- Drinking. Some people habitually buy costly beers and wines, mostly because they excessively expose themselves to these situations: pubs, parties, etc.
- Cooking too much food. First, they are frozen and then thrown away later. Planning meals help prevent excess waste of food.
The key here is to keep things real and simple to avoid many of the bad habits mentioned above that can really interfere with you sticking to your food budget.
Suggested reading: Ways to save on groceries.
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