If you are having a hard time sticking to your food budget, you're not alone. This is something that I struggle with every time I head to the grocery store. Luckily, I have found a few strategies to help save a little money and stay within my budget. Here are a few tips for sticking to your food budget that I use.
1. Meal Plans
When you're trying to be a good girl, sticking to your food budget, it is a good idea to plan your meals. By planning your meals you will know exactly which foods you need to buy. I plan my meals by making a menu each week. My family loves to put in request for their favorite foods. Once my menu is made, I estimate the cost of each meal. If a meal puts me over my budget, I change it up a bit, so that I stay under budget.
2. Pay Cash
If you are constantly going over your budget, consider paying cash. This is a little inconvenient for those of us who use a debit card for everything, but it works. Paying cash forces you to stick to your budget. You can't spend it, if you don't have it. Limit the payment methods that you take into the store. Having them will only tempt you to buy things that are not on your list.
3. Make a List
A list will keep you from purchasing unnecessary items. I like to keep a notepad on my fridge, so I can add items to the list as I need them. I try to be specific when making a list. If I need a vegetable, I put the kind and the amount on my list. This keeps me from buy the wrong item or the wrong amount. Without a list, it is almost impossible to get everything that you need.
4. Limit Shopping Trips
I tend to spend less money, if I limit the amount of shopping trips I make. If I make multiple trips, I end up buying unnecessary items. If you have a specific shopping day, you are more likely to be prepared for it. I like to shop for groceries on Mondays. This gives me all weekend to prepare for my shopping trip.
5. Use Coupons
Who doesn't like coupons? I love coupons. Any time you use a coupon, it is like someone is giving you free money. You can find coupons in newspapers, magazines, and online. I only use coupons on items that either fit into my meal plan or if they are for things that I normally buy.
6. Eat before You Shop
If you head to the grocery store hungry, the results can be disastrous. Hunger can cause you to go way over your budget. You may find yourself loading up on things that you would normally avoid. When I don't eat before I go, I tend to load up on junk food and regret it when I get home. In a rush to get out of the store so I can eat, I end up forgetting many of the items on my list.
7. Shop Alone
While shopping with your children and spouse can be fun, it can cause you to go over your budget. When I shop with my husband and children, they always see things they want to eat. I am happy to buy foods that they want, but if you didn't plan for it, your will go over your budget. If you know that your family will be with you on your next shopping trip, designate part of your budget to cover the extra goodies they want. This will make it easier to stick to your budget.
I am not an expert on creating a food budget. I have just found a few tips that work for me. It is important to find a budget that meets the needs of your family. I am constantly looking for new ways to save more money. What are some of your favorite tips on sticking to a food budget?