9 Tips for Monthly Food Budgeting
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I am a big planner and love building menus for 2 full weeks. I try to grocery shop 2 to 3 times a month. I am a food blogger so I do have a different budget for the recipes on my blog, so I am referring to the meals I plan for my family. We budget $275 every 2 weeks for groceries with 2 evenings a month designated to eating out ($60 for eating out). So including eating out, I will budget around $610 for food every month. Again, it is different now that I am creating recipes on a daily basis, so everything you are seeing from my Instagram is not coming out of the $610, there is a different budget I am pulling from.
Planning takes time, but once you stay consistent with it a couple of months, it will be smooth sailing. I have created a FREE Whole30 meal template and grocery list that allows you to write out what you need from the grocery store. It helps organize your needs into categories.
Keep a checklist and inventory of what is in your fridge and pantry. Before going to the grocery store, make sure to check your list with your inventory. This will allow you to be resourceful, not wasteful and allow you to save some cash by not over buying unneeded items.
This tip is something that has saved my budget more than any of the other tips. Before building my meal menus,
I tend to check my freezer, fridge and pantry and build meals with what I have first. Then when I run out of things to make, I will start building new meal ideas with things I need from the grocery store. Even if you have a dozen of eggs in your fridge, make a frittata and MAKE IT WORK!
2 days a week choose to make your main source of protein eggs. Our family loves eggs and I use them in different ways so we don’t get sick of them. Going meatless 2 days a week saves our family so much money. On these days get creative with how you prepare your eggs. Eat a couple of hard boiled eggs for breakfast, a heavy veggie salad or protein shake for lunch and a frittata for dinner.
If I am doing a Whole30 it may be a little hard to go meatless 2 days a week, so I will tweak it a bit. I want to make sure I am getting adequate protein so I may do a couple of fried eggs with sautéed veggies for breakfast, a heavy veggie salad with prosciutto for lunch and a big veggie omelet for dinner.
Aldi has the cheapest produce around and guess what? It is high quality and they even carry organic. Don’t you dare turn your nose up to Aldi because you have to pay a quarter for your cart. Aldi is a SMART choice and will save you a butt load of money. I bought beautiful avocados there the other day for 39cents…that’s insane y’all. Additionally, you can find other amazing products and even grass fed and organic meat at there. They have amazing products that are Paleo, Whole30, Keto and Clean Eating. This store is magical…………IT SAVES MY POCKETBOOK EVERY MONTH!
Set a budget and withdraw the amount of money you plan to spend on groceries for the month. This limit has to be set and you can’t budge. If you have a limit of $500 a month on groceries, stick to it no matter what. Once the cash runs out, it is time to get creative with the food you have on hand. It’s amazing the dinners I come up with when I HAVE to create something yummy out of the food we have available. I love this method because it not only teaches me, but also my 3 year old that we can be resourceful and not wasteful. I always have a lot of chicken in my freezer, eggs in my fridge and lots of frozen and canned veggies. Using these items can make delicious and simply meals that they whole family will love.
Every single meal does not have to be Pinterest worthy. Some of my favorite meals have very few ingredients and are delicious. One of my favorite go-to meals to make is sausage and peppers over cauliflower rice. It’s 4 ingredients, super cheap and satisfying. Plan a few meals a month that involve more expensive cuts of meats and make those nights super special. During the week keep things simply, it will make your life so much easier and your family won’t even care. In addition, to get into a routine I will pick a day of the week where we repeat a meal all month long. For example, every Tuesday in July we will have “ Whole30 Taco Bowl Tuesdays” and we do that every Tuesday for the month. To change things up, the next month we will pick another favorite cheap meal and repeat it every week for the month. My family will actually look forward to those days of the week because it becomes routine. Routine is something that will save your sanity and your pocket book.
Buying meat in bulk is a great way to save money from month to month and keeping your freezer fully stocked at all times. I alternate months where I will buy a bunch of meat from either Butcher Box or Sam’s Club. I love Butcher Boxes quality but also love Sam’s Club when I don’t have the extra cash. They both carry grass feed and organic meat that are top notch. Now, some months we don’t do grass-fed or organic, we do what we can afford that month and it’s okay. Aldi has organic and grass-fed options that are way cheaper. Your budget shouldn’t be to impress others, it should be to feed your family the heathiest way you can with the money you have available. We all aren’t Rocket Scientist and Lawyers. Do YOU and don’t worry about what others says about organic or grass-fed, just be proud that you are feeding your family the best with what you have.
If you are living the Paleo and Whole30 lifestyle, you are probably aware of how expensive compliant sauces can get. Instead of spending a fortune on the store bought version, make your own, only when you need it. I usually have mayo on hand and it will usually last me a week in the fridge. It taste way better than the store bought brands and I make just enough so I am not wasting it. Anytime I make a sauce or dressing my base is usually LIGHT olive oil. The little bottles at the grocery store can get a bit pricey, so I will buy an over-sized container at Sam’s Club and it lasts me forever.
I refuse to cook Eloise a separate meal from what we are eating. She has learned, “she gets what she gets and won’t throw a fit.” She loves chicken nuggets and about a year ago she demanded them every single night. I made her separate meals for about 2 weeks and then I said, “nope, not gonna happen, she is not going to eat chicken nuggets every night for dinner.” So she threw a big fit for about two weeks but I refused to give in. I stayed consistent and guess what happened? She started eating what I cooked and didn’t complain. She began trying new things and actually really loved all the new foods she was being introduced too. Life can get busy and chicken nuggets and french fries may seem like the solution to a quick meal for your kids, but it actually ends up costing more money and setting a poor foundation for the future of their health. Send them in the right directions and teach health and wellness at a young age.