How much should a person spend on food each month?
Good question. Finding a budget that is workable for you and your family is strictly up to you and your habits and considers these factors, as well:
Where you live.
Where you shop.
How much you make.
What you want to spend.
What you want to eat.
What are your savings goals.
A major factor is how much do want to cook? How much time can you realistically spend cooking? Would you like to set yourself up better for home cooking? You simply can set your budget to whatever you want realistically, but you have to learn to think ahead. You have to learn how to buy food differently to your past habits.
1. The first thing you should do is look at your habits, now.
What are you eating? How much of your meals are cooked from scratch, of at all?
2. You want to eat well; This is an obvious choice and benefit of good, solid food budgeting. If so, how are you going to adjust for the meals you might normally eat that are not healthy and will not fall into your budget now? Plan and look ahead to your meals for the week. Make sure you make some exceptions to things you really like and cannot do without. If you like chocolate, make sure to have what you like. In order to balance this cost, figure a way to save with other items. Buy more when something you like is on sale – as often as you can.
3. Make a pact with yourself to not waste food. This is such a good, frugal habit to get into that it will end up having a major impact on your food budget. If you think you have to use up something or eat it before it goes bad – you set yourself up for success with a budget. Use up what you have as for fresh produce, dairy and fresh meats – before you restock. Use up rotational items in your freezer – don’t allow good food to go to waste! Rotate and restock as you cook and freeze food. If something may take a while to eat or you know you won’t use all of it – freeze a portion. Your freezer should be your best friend for not letting food go to waste.
4. Find a budget and stick to it. Plan ahead. Look for sales. Know your kitchen – know what’s in your cupboards, your frig and your freezer. What are you thinking of cooking? Make a list. When you come home from the market – Put it all together. Fine tune a process for yourself that works for you; for your kitchen and your household. Be as strict as you can be. But if you find a sale on something that would be able to go in the freezer or be canned, think about the impact on your present budget and how that might be good for you in the long term.
My budget is really low at $30 A Week. I’ve been reviewing this over and over in my head. Annually, it’s $1560 a year. A single woman should have a range of $1700 to $2700. I, actually, think I’m doing well this budget. I would not increase it by very much when it’s over. For myself, I could do very well on $2000 – $2400 a year. To not waste food at all, but enjoy some freedom, I would set my budget at $42 a week – $2184/yr – not much of an increase but allowing freedom to buy different items or specialty items. I don’t say quality, because, I don’t believe I’m buying low quality food; not at all.
Exploring your own habits of eating and spending and creating a budget is one of the most useful things you can do to get a handle on waste and buying food with very low nutritional value, i.e., junk. Which, I think, ultimately, leads to a healthier more conscious approach to buying, cooking and eating wisely.