Budgeting for Your Food: The Only Tips You’ll Ever Need
For many of us, food is one of the things that makes us feel happy no matter what’s happening in our lives. Whether it’s cooking a meal for a loved one or deciding to order Pizza Hut with Foodpanda for a treat, food brings people together. Unfortunately, most of us can’t treat ourselves to meals out or meals delivered to our doors every day. There are some strategies that we can all take to still get joy out of food while on a budget.
Make a plan.
The first step to properly budgeting and to bring down how much you’re spending on your weekly and monthly food shop is to make a plan. Going to the grocery store without a plan is a recipe for unneeded purchases and food making its way directly from the fridge to the trash. To avoid this, start by making a list of the meals you want to eat throughout the week. Three to four core meals is a good place to start. As long as you cook in bulk, this will be plenty to last you for the week.
Make a list.
Once you have your meals planned out for the week, you can start making your list of ingredients that you need to buy. Get each recipe and note down what you need and in what quantities. You may find that some foods overlap, which is great. This means that you can buy in bulk and have enough food for each meal. If meal planning is new to you, you may find that in your first couple of weeks, you’re buying lots of new ingredients, but as you continue, you’ll build up a nice cupboard full of the basic ingredients that will be useful across many different meals. This includes things like dry carbs such as rice, beans and lentils, spices, and tinned tomatoes. These foods form the backbone of many great foods, and soon, you’ll only need to buy fresh meat and vegetables to go along with them.
Make a budget (and stay focused).
Once you have your list, it’s time to shop! As you go down each aisle, try to stick to your list. It can be easy to get carried away in the grocery shop and buy foods you either don’t need or that aren’t the healthiest choice. One of the best ways to stick to your list is to have a firm budget that you need to stick to. This will mean that you don’t have any room to buy extras as you go.
Set a day for cooking.
When you get back home, a great way to save time and to make sure that you don’t run out of meals throughout the week is to cook multiple meals in an afternoon. Try to make two to three meals at once and make enough so that you get multiple servings. Portion these out and put in the freezer, so that you can thaw them out throughout the week. This will help you to avoid any emergency trips to eat out or get food delivered in.