How to Create a Grocery Budget
Posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2011 at 12:12 pm
Creating a Budget
First, you have to decide what a reasonable budget for you and your family is. This can vary from household to household. First, you have to decide what your maximum grocery budget is. As of March 2011, the USDA suggests that a “thrifty” family of four spend between $530 and $611 a month on groceries, while a “liberal” plan runs about double at $1,030 to $1,203 a month. On average, a family will spend about 30 percent of their overall budget on groceries (including health and beauty products).
Once you have decided on your maximum grocery budget, drop your budget lower. For example, if you decide you can afford to spend $200 a week on groceries, set your ideal budget at $150. This will allow room for a little overspending and will also save you money in the long run. You can get more groceries for less by utilizing grocery coupons.
Sticking to Your Budget
So now that you have created your grocery budget, here are some simple tips for sticking to it:
- Create a meal plan and make a shopping list. This will help you to stay focused and on track when you get to the grocery store.
- Be thrifty. Remember, you can get more for less by using your grocery coupons. Several grocery stores will even match competitor’s prices, so take note of which stores are having sales and inquire about price matching.
- Take a calculator with you to the grocery store. Use it to calculate the price of each item you add to your shopping cart into your total. This will help you to avoid spontaneous impulse buys and overspending.
- If possible, leave your credit card and checkbook at home. Once you have set your grocery budget, go to the bank or ATM and get that exact amount in cash. Your calculator will help you to avoid any surprise totals at the checkout.
- If possible, do your grocery shopping alone to avoid having unnecessary items added to your cart when you aren’t looking.
- Lastly, avoid doing your grocery shopping on an empty stomach. This is an easy way to give into impulse buys – especially when in close proximity to the snack aisle!
Why Have a Grocery Budget?
Having a grocery budget is becoming increasingly important as the economy continues to drive prices up. By spending a little extra time creating a grocery budget and organizing your grocery coupons, you will save money that you can apply to other areas of your budget. Going into the grocery store with a budget and a plan will also save you from wasting money on items you will never use.