We all know we should budget our money. We’ve probably all heard about budgeting our time. Have you ever considered budgeting your groceries? With the rising food costs continually putting a strain on our wallets, the concept of budgeting groceries (the food you keep in your fridge and pantry) can really be a lifesaver.
Budgeting groceries means that you purchase enough food that, combined with what you have on hand, they should be sufficient to feed those in your home until the next planned shopping trip. Here are three tips that help me as I budget our groceries!
1. Plan a weekly grocery menu as you’re making your grocery list.
This will keep you from making daily trips to the nearest (and probably overpriced) store for random ingredients you need to complete a meal. Be sure to include the items you’ll need for all three meals, as well as any snacks or desserts you plan to serve.
2. Protect the items you need for those meals.
When my husband comes home from work after a long day, he heads right for the fridge. I know he’ll eat any meat and/or cheese he can find in order to stave off the hunger pains induced by a long day of hard work in the sun. I would rather that he not eat the meat items I need for our supper meals, so I placed a container in the fridge and labeled it “snacks.” Ground breaking, I know. 🙂 That bin holds lunch meat, hot dogs and block cheese that he can eat instead of the shredded chicken I need for enchiladas.
3. Communicate your strategy.
Explain to the people in your house that the shopping has been done for the week. Whatever is in the fridge and the pantry should be able to last until your next shopping trip (I go once a week). Encourage your family to help you with your goal of making things last. This is not to say anyone should go hungry – provide things like bananas that are filling yet inexpensive. Eating 3 bananas each day costs much less than eating 3 handfuls of chips or half a frozen pizza for a snack!