How To Set A Realistic Grocery Budget

Saving money on grocery shopping is something all homemakers, parents, and those who do the family budget long to do.

However, how much money can you really save?

That depends entirely on your budget. There are government guidelines that state how much a typical family should spend (or does spend) on groceries in America. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most families spend about 13 percent of their money feeding their family. This can include eating out, and eating at home.

Household income varies greatly from state to state, but the median house hold income in the United States is about 45,000 a year. Thirteen percent of this amount is $5850, for an average weekly expenditure for a family of four being $112.50 per week on groceries. If you spend less or more than that, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong to do so, it just means that you don’t fall in the median range.

But, this range can give you a good idea what a typical budget might look like. So, when you’re making your budget you can calculate what you should be spending, compared to what you can spend.

Deciding what to spend on groceries needs to include identifying other costs associated with how much money you have coming in. After all, you can’t spend what you don’t have.

Consider all your set bills, as well as your optional bills, so that you can make a realistic budget for weekly grocery trips. Divide set bills and optional bills into two separate columns. After cutting out all the “wants” from your budget and keeping the “needs” now you can start to create a realistic budget for your groceries.

In addition to other factors than food, now consider what part of your current grocery bill is a want, or a need.

The honest truth is, whether we like it or not, no one needs to eat potato chips. They have zero nutritional value and are simply a pleasure food like product. They give nothing to a meal other than pleasure, period. So, when cutting items from your food budget, first cut out all “wants” and keep needs. In other words, don’t give up a daily apple so you can have your chips or soda.

Another fact is that water is the best beverage; anything else is also just chemicals or empty calories.

Once you’ve set a budget, make menus and grocery lists based on what you need to keep your family nutritionally and calorically fed. Anything that doesn’t meet this criteria should not be on your grocery list.

Once you create the list, go shopping, and remember to keep a small note book with you, writing down prices as you go. This is called a price book, and you can consult this as you’re making your weekly menus when you want extra help to cut back a bit. If you do happen to have a bit left over in your budget consider whether you want to use that money to buy junk food, or put away for a nice family vacation.

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