How to Create an Economical Food Budget

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas and Hanukkah heading our way, looking at our food budget and seeing how much we are spending can be a bit overwhelming.  Do you go to the grocery thinking, “I don’t have that much to buy this week” and you walk out paying way more than you anticipated?  Is there a way we can cut back on our food budget BUT still eating in a healthful way?

Well, the answer is yes.  Here are a few recommendations that could help you keep within a budget that is manageable for your family.

  1. Shop from the outer isles of the grocery store. This means you are purchasing “real” food and not boxed or processed food.  By shopping this way, you may need to shop more often because fresh food does have a shelf life.  But you are truly eating in a more healthful way.  Your body will thank you.  Research shows that fresh vegetables actually cost less than packaged ones in the long run.  Check out this research.
  2. Create a weekly menu of what you will cook for each daily meal. Here’s a picture of what I use to plan my week of meals.It is basic and simple to use.  I only plan my dinners.  If I am working in my office, then I have lunch at home.  That’s usually a salad, leftovers, or something easy to grab and eat.  This is a simple excel sheet that I use to plan my dinners each day of the week.  Email me and I’ll be happy to send you it.
  3. Once you have your weekly menu planned, then begin your grocery list. Take each day’s meal and review what the ingredients are for that meal.  Then check your cabinets/refrigerator to see if you have all the ingredients.   Put on the grocery list that which you need.  Then when you get to the grocery store, try your best to shop from your list.  If you deviate from your list and shop what is attractively marketed, you will find that you spend more money than you probably budgeted.
  4. Try your best to not shop when you have not eaten. A growling stomach makes it hard to not grab something that probably isn’t good for you or that you’ll eat in the car on the way home.
  5. Regarding those items that are not “fresh”, consider shopping from places like Vitacost or Swanson These are places where you could get items like cooking oils, nuts, supplements, body care products or those canned goods that you need at a discounted price. They usually have free shipping when you spend a certain amount and I NEVER have a problem meeting that amount.
  6. Consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables when getting fresh is not economical. Frozen is the next best thing from fresh … and much, much better than canned.  I stay away from canned fruits and vegetables … no matter how inexpensive they can be.  Canned goods are usually lined with BPA which is a preservative made from Petroleum.  Ugh not healthy.
  7. Make pots of soup or stews … especially now that winter is upon us. They are great for more than one meal and can be a great way to cut back your food budget.  Invest in a good cookbook and have fun trying new recipes.  Let me know if you need some cookbook ideas.

The summary is not long and is manageable to help you make budget changes.  If the list still seems overwhelming, then choose to implement one idea each month.

Do you have questions and want to talk about some issues you might have regarding your food budget, feel free to schedule a 30 Minute Free Consult.  I’d love to talk with you.


Your Health, Wellness & Organizational Coach … believing in you!