This is part of our Weekly Money Challenge series.
Be sure to check off any you’ve missed!
Food… can’t live without it, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on it either. The amount you spend on food each month is one of the biggest and easiest targets in your budget.
In 2015, U.S. households spent an average of $7,023 (12.5 percent of income) on food. (BLS.gov)
12.5% is just the average, some families spend up to 20% of their income on food. Cutting that number in half is very doable with a plan. Even cutting it by a few percentages would have a drastic impact on your finances!
This Week’s Challenge: Guess what you spend on food each month, then look it up.
Start by guessing first, then looking it up. Where you go from there is up to you. Here’s a few ideas:
- Try cutting your food budget in half
- Try giving yourself a daily food allowance
- Try bringing your lunch to work
- Start meal prepping/planning
- Try eating all the food in the house before buying anything new
- Try eating only at home for a week, month or forever!
- Start shopping at Aldi, Costco, or other low-cost stores in your area
- Use more coupons
Here are some resources that may help you out:
- How to Make Nutritious Meals for $1 – $2/Day Per Person
- Aldi Meal Plans from Lauren Greutman
- Budget Bytes – My Stomach is full and my wallet is too!
- 5DollarMealPlan.com – A weekly meal plan service
Because I am very guilty myself, I can say that over-spending on food is the result of poor planning, laziness, social pressures, and just being (blissfully?) unaware of how much you are spending. But I can also say that cutting your food bill in half is easy!
Awareness is the first step, after that you can figure out what to do about it.
Let us know what you guessed and what you uncovered about your food bill over in the forums!
– Derek, Master of Challenges
PS: Curious to see how last week’s challenge went? Click here and scroll to the bottom.
Food cost is something we all have in common, it’s interesting to see the different ways people tackle it.
Here’s a few tips people left over in the forums.
This is a fantastic quick list of ways to save money on food and a few other household expenses.
Fifty Tips for Frugal February from Erith.
(Seriously, read this post!)
Another thing to add to the list is to try to find a co-op. We have a co-op chain here where organic and local foods are sold and are much more reasonably priced than Whole Foods.
Additionally, in the spring, you can find cheap veggies at farmers markets. Some of them will sell things like tomatoes (that are usually expensive), at a discounted rate because they are bruised. –PrimalProsperity
Pull your entire coffee shop, restaurant, pub , grocery store and snack spending into one spot ( I love Mint for this) Then start to drop that month over month.
In North America we eat waaaaaayyyy too much meat, start cutting those portions down huge to see quick savings. I eat zero pork for the most part and have stopped eating steak. Dial back the amount of chicken in meals also. Start using pasta and rice more with fresh veggies. –Stasher
For us, what really helps is:
– meal planning
– meat only 1-2x/week
– shopping less expensive stores (Costco/WinCo/Trader Joe’s)
– restaurant only 1-2x/month