In this blog post by Mama and The Word, we will look at how to budget your family food shop as a busy mama. Does it really improve your monthly budget? Is there a reduction in your food spending? Can a meal plan help to reduce family food waste and money too? Make sure to read to the end of this post, and don’t forget to grab my free guide
How to budget your family food shop as a busy mama may seem like a difficult task, to begin with.
However, it will improve your overall monthly budget and spending especially when you have lots of people to feed. It can also be done fairly easily once the prep has been put in place.
Saving you time, energy, and stress in the long run. Whilst grocery bills can vary from week to week you will see a trend in your grocery bill spending.
Also with planning, you can reduce impulse buying and in many cases reduce not only your food expenditure but also your food waste.
So What Happen To Our Family Food Budget
Last year with everyone at home more and our daily routines being changed. I noticed a rapid increase in our food bill.
I also found that some food items were not available as they usually would be or some items such as a loaf of bread were limited.
This made me start to rethink my shopping habits and plan meals. It also made me take a closer look at the amount of money that I was spending on our weekly food budget.
I was more than a little shocked. Whilst I don’t scrimp on my food spending. I did have to question what was happening to our food budget? or lack of it.
I knew that I needed to take action & set some wheels in motion to reduce our spending but also our food waste.
Read More On Reducing Food Waste Here:
It occurred to me then that other people may well be in the same situation as us or have to work with a tight budget. Whether it is a large family or a couple on their own or even an individual. The same simple rule applies only to the amount or quantity that changes.
Nimblefins.co.uk found that on average a family of 4 spent on average £92.00 pounds a week on family shopping https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/average-uk-household-cost-food
Whereas in the US the average spend was about $197.00 per week https://www.rockethq.com/learn/personal-finances/how-much-should-you-spend-on-groceries-v2
Finding A Strategy For How To Budget Your Family Food Shop As A Busy Mama
Finding a strategy that will work for you and your family is integral to reducing your food spending and waste.
Below I have shared 7 easy tips that I have used for my family to reduce how much money we spend, as well as reduce food waste. Minimizing my stress and saving money in the process.
- Review Your Current Spending
- Meal Plan for the week or month
- Plan Every Meal
- Limit Eating Out or Take-Aways
- Maintain A Well-Stocked Pantry or Store Cupboard
- Eat Seasonal or Plant-Based Meals
- Batch Cooking
- Cash, Debit, or Credit Card
Review Your Current Spending On Your Family Food
The first step is to review your old receipts from last month’s shopping as this will help you see what you have spent.
You can use this as a guide for your spending going forward or you can give yourself a set amount of money to spend on groceries each week or month.
This is also a good idea as you will see any spending habits or help you understand where you could save money by buying generic brands for some items rather than branded items which can increase your food spending.
At the end of the month, you can then see if you have stuck to your food budget and if you have even saved money on your food bills.
Meal Planning Your Family Food
The best way to reduce unwanted spending is to plan your weekly meals and then only buy what you need for that week.
This is the most cost-effective way to shop as you will reduce the number of impulse buys that land in your shopping trolley when you go to the local store.
Start by planning your family’s meals for the week or even the month if you feel confident. Make a list of the foods that you will need as this will greatly reduce your food overspending or limit the need for expensive ingredients.
It will also give you a structure to work with for that week. You can plan around events, clubs, or sports classes as well as any other activities which may limit your time as a busy mom.
Read More Here Meal Planning:
Weekly Meal Planning
By planning all your meals from breakfast through to your main evening meal and snacks you can have a very clear plan of exactly what items you need to purchase for your food shopping.
You can keep a pantry or store cupboard inventory list or grocery list and tick items as you go ready for your shopping trip. This will limit your overall food waste.
Studies show that in the UK we throw away roughly 20% of our groceries. This could amount to more than £500.00 a year for an average British household.
See more on the BBC site https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/could_you_cut_your_food_bill_by_a_third
Converted this would be over $680 in the United States. In Europe that equates to just under 600 euros, in Australia $945 dollars and $855 Canadian dollars.
It is also essential not to shop on an empty stomach, plan that if it is not on the list then it doesn’t go into your basket or trolley.
You can also use online shopping and only click the items that you have listed. It is very easy to pick up items on sale, or special offers.
If the children are shopping with you there can also be extra purchases made that increase your overall spending.
Limit Meals Out Or Takeaways
Limiting the amount of processed food and incorporating more healthy eating into your everyday diet will also help to reduce your food costs and be healthier for your whole family.
Limiting the number of times that you dine out or order take away each week or month due to lack of prep, time, or other circumstances can drastically reduce your food spending and increase your budget whilst usually being the healthier alternative too.
Maintaining A Well-Stocked Pantry Or Store Cupboard
Having a well-stocked pantry or store cupboard will help you when planning your meals and when making your shopping list each week.
Having store cupboard or pantry ingredients on hand will help to make quick easy meals, baked goods, and even bread if needed.
It is much healthier, cost-effective, and tastier to make your sauces, sweet treats, snacks, and meals than it is to buy ready-made, takeaway, or frozen meals.
Eating Seasonal Or Plant-Based Meals
Purchasing items that are in season, fresh produce, or adding more meatless alternatives is a good way of stretching your grocery budget further when feeding your family.
Whilst seasonal produce will be a fraction of the cost of non-seasonal produce.
Adding more vegetables to your dishes or even trying more vegetarian or vegan alternatives can have great health benefits as well as being kinder to your wallet too.
Batch Cooking Family Food
Batch cooking is a great way to double up on recipes so that you can freeze half for another day.
Or you can cook a few meals on the weekend when you have free time or you can pick up a bargain at the supermarket. This will help you on days when your time is constrained.
The slow cooker is also a really helpful tool to have in your kitchen as you can make large amounts of soups, stews, or casseroles and it is cooking while you are working.
Read More Here: batch cooking
Cash, Debit, Or Credit Card
There are many ways to pay or help reduce your spending or increase your points to use to save money.
Many local grocery stores will have weekly special offers, coupons, and deals on certain food items.
You can also look for reduced food items due to the sell-by dates. Some supermarkets will also run discount cards or points cards which will offer savings and benefits when using them.
How Budgeting Our Family Food Shopping Helped With Our Overall Finances As A Busy Mama
The biggest thing that I have learned from looking at how to budget a family food shop as a busy mum is that I can control my spending habits and our family budget.
By planning our meals, I can save myself and my family money, time, stress, and reduce our overall food waste.
I think that implementing these small changes listed above has helped me make a big impact overall.
Reviewing My Cupboards & Pantry
Firstly I reviewed how much I spent the previous month as I had my old receipts. I then decided to meal plan every week.
I asked each person what their favorite meal was so that everyone would be happy at least one day of the week.
From there I was able to make a list of items I would need for our meals for the following week. You can also keep a store cupboard or freezer inventory so that you can check off items.
Make sure that you have your list with you as well as any coupons, vouchers or if you see a bargain that you can pass up and you have the freezer space then pick it up.
You can always incorporate that item into your weekly meal planning or you can batch cook to use for another day.
Points cards when you go shopping or the apps loaded to your phone so that you don’t miss out on any savings or points.
Planning Our Meals
By planning and batch cooking you can reduce your need for taking away or eating out and keep it for special occasions only.
This will help to reduce your additional spending. Make sure that eating out is a real treat or special occasion. Save it more for Date Nights with your someone special.
You could also try reducing your meat intake by using more plant-based products in your cooking. By shopping seasonally or by using fresh produce you will find that fruit and vegetables will be very reasonable.
Out-of-season products will be more costly. Sometimes it’s fun just to challenge yourself to make something with a different fruit or vegetable than you would normally use.
You may surprise yourself and others and find a new family favorite. Having a set amount for your food budget in cash will make you more aware of what you are spending.
However, today with so many points and cashback options when using credit or debit cards then it is also now easy to collect points with these as well.
So consider all your options before making your payments.
Lastly, make it a fun process. whether you create a savings jar or fund to see how much you can save. Challenge your family to try new meals each week.
Or just make and stick to a plan for a month to see what benefits there are for you and your family. The choices are yours to make and amend to whatever suits you.
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to budgeting for your weekly or monthly grocery shopping? Let me know in the comments below as I love to hear from you?