By Marcelle Snyder
Creating a food budget can be advantageous in that it can help you “stretch your money” and still have enough to eat “great”. Dawna Pacini, who has 2 school-age children and is on a fixed income, has learned through experience that creating a food budget is an excellent method which can help a family eat well and frugally.
Dawna tells us that she likes creating a food budget for three reasons:
A. The first reason is that it saves you time. How? When planning meals ahead, you must identify exactly what you want to buy at the store. As a result,when you get to the store, you don’t need to go from aisle to aisle searching for what might be a good idea to buy; instead, you can go straight to the aisles where you will find what you want in search of ingredients and meal ideas.
B. The second reason to creating a food budget is that it helps you stay organized. You will no longer find yourself staring into the fridge/freezer at five o’clock and wonder what you should cook because you failed to plan ahead.
C. And most importantly, creating a food budget can help you save money. Dawna explains that when you are organized and buy only what you need, you will stay within budget and save money normally spent on unnecessary purchases. Also you will waste less food because you buy exactly what you need; therefore, you are saving money.
According to Dawna, creating a food budget,(an excellent way to stay organized, save time, and trim your family budget), involves following these three steps:
1. Choose a time period to budget for. That is, take a look at what you spend on groceries in a day, a week, bi-weekly, or monthly; then find the average amount you spend on food. Use that average to decide what your budget goal will be.
2.The second step to creating a food budget is to plan your meals for the time period you choose: a day, a week, a month, or longer.
3. The third step to creating a food budget is to create a grocery list. Identify all the ingredients you’ll need to create the meals and snacks you have on your menu plan, and stick to your list when shopping.
4. Shop at stores such as No Frills and Price Chopper where you can buy more food with your budgeted money.
In addition, anyone who is creating a food budget should also use the following tools to save your money even more:
i) Using flyers can be a great tool because you can match your list of ingredients to whichever stores have the wanted items on sale that week and shop there to save money.
ii) Editing your menu to include ingredients that are on sale will save you money. For example, sometimes, I substitute canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes if they happen to be on sale.
iii) Buying in bulk can be a great tool only if utilized properly. Just remember: A deal is only a deal if you actually need it. So buy in bulk only if it is to your advantage.
iv) Using coupons can make it possible for you to get free, or close to free, items. For example,Dawna once had a coupon for $1.00 off egg beaters and then they went on sale at one of the grocery stores for $1.00. Because she had ten coupons, she bought two for her family and donated the other eight to the local women’s shelter to help them out.
The great thing about coupons is that finding coupons is so much simpler than it used to be. Coupons can be found in flyers, magazines, and on the Internet. You simply search “Canadian Coupons” (or the name of your country and the word coupons) on Google, and you will find a whole realm of new coupon sources ranging from print your own to entire databases created by users and even companies who will mail coupons to your home for free.
So if you want to eat well and at the same time save money, you have only to follow these guidelines and use these tools. Then you can discover first hand just how well creating a food budget can be of great advantage to your family and you.
About the Author: For other articles, for further explanations about Creating a Food Budget, or for a sample list of websites where you can get coupons, visit Marcie’s blog at