Are you overspending on grocery shopping and eating out?
How much money do you spend each month on food? Either buying groceries, stopping a fast food restaurant or ordering in?
Different factors contribute to how much you spend on food.
– family size
-age of children
– diet ( allergies, all natural/organic, etc.)
The United States Department of Agriculture puts out a list of Official USDA Food Plans, breaking down the cost of food at home into four levels based on averages.
We are on the high side of spending with more than 600 a month.
What I can’t seem to understand is how can a family of four spend so much money and why?
I then realized it’s not just my family. Whew.
- Many working families share the same struggle. They don’t have time to cook every day and ordering lunch or dinner is the go-to method.
- If you a family like mines, kids with allergies then you have a whole new set of demands. Our daughter is down to 5 food allergies-eggs, dairy, chicken, tree nuts, and peanuts. Talk about an expensive grocery bill. I am grateful that there are tons of alternatives to the real thing but why it has to cost soooo much.
So, how can we have balance? To continue ordering on those hard to manage days but still stay within budget.
I introduce a little chart that has been saving our insanity and pockets. We needed a system that could document our purchases.
Why a monthly grocery spending accountability chart?
See, my husband and I sat down one evening and tried to account for our spending. But it was very daunting. That fact that we use credit cards or cash for everything made it a little tricky.
For instance, grabbing food at the gas station receipts didn’t distinguish the amount for food vs. gas. Or if I went to the cafe and spent cash but didn’t grab the receipt, I would not know how much I spent. We were in over our heads and needed something a lot simpler. Therefore, I came up with this calendar so we can have an easier way to hold ourselves accountable.
How to use it?
My husband and I have been reluctantly keeping an eye on what we spend at lunch, and documenting it on the chart. I mean who really wants to be reminded that they spent money. Lucky, there are more days that we pack lunch vs. eating out.
RELATED: Night time routine of a working mom
We found the best place to keep the calendar chart is on our refrigerator. For you, it may be your command center pretty much anywhere you will see it.
So, each time you eat out, order-in or go grocery shopping, you must add it to that date on the calendar with the amount and place of purchase.
For example, Oct 12 would have $10 lunch cafe and a $20 chick fil dinner. Then add the total up at the end of the week in the Spending box.
What are the goals and Intentions?
The Goals of the monthly food chart is to …
Notice a pattern.
Why not get clever and see if there is a pattern. This will help you pinpoint your families top restaurants of choice and where you most likely order from.
Once you get a system in place and notice for instance on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you are buying food, mostly like because you are too tired to cook. Then on those days, you could start creating crockpot meals. Simply throw everything in the crockpot Monday night and boom Tuesday food is done. I love crockpot meals because simple and delicious.
Finding coupons to your favorite places to eat and shop, can reduce your spending by far.
We tend to have a problem with eating out on weekends. Usually, they are the same rotating places Olive Garden, Chick-fila, Uno’s and Friday’s so should find coupons for these places.
A few ways to save
Sign up for restaurant rewards or buy gift cards during the holiday to get more. Many restaurants offer buy 40 and get 10 free.
Purchase or exchange gift cards– The best gift card exchange services 2017
Shop using Ibotta for grocery —Sign up here and receive a $10 welcome bonus!
Or not spend anything at all
Need more ways to save? Check out 20 Ways to Lower Your Restaurant Bill, Straight From Employees Dine out on a dime with these insider secrets!
Although I am still experimenting with the monthly food chart, my overall hopes are to decrease the amount of money we are spending on food. And take back control of my finance while still enjoy occasional eating out.
The extra money I will save can go to debt reduction, vacations, and our emergency savings.
I challenge you to use the Monthly food chart to see how your family is spending money on food.
Organize your life, home and finances start somewhere why not here and now?