Personally, I’m the type of person where I don’t really care how much money I make or how lacking I am in terms of luxuries, as long as I can sleep at night on a full stomach.
However, there are times when this ideal is just inappropriate. For one, I have a family, and I need to provide. Strange as I was to it at first, I needed to deal with something that I didn’t care for before – the food budget.
Still, I managed to pick up some tricks along the way, and one thing that you need to do is figure out where you stand.
What’s your Status?
Are you living alone? Are you living with your boy/girlfriend? Do you have a family? Your status – that is, the number of people in the home – will dictate how you should approach with your food budget.
For instance, if you’re living alone, you can make more sacrifices when it comes to your meals as opposed to when you are living with a husband and three kids.
As for the food budget itself, here are a few general guidelines
Any dish with chicken, pork, and/or beef is good. Besides the fact that they are tasty, the only reason that they are included in almost every meal is the fact that they are our main sources of protein.
That being said, you can try going for other sources of protein. If it has to be meat, try going for more fish. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to abandon those delicious meats altogether.
You can still have stake from time to time, as long as you have enough for your budget.
In the spirit of frugality, you can keep on eating fish for a month just for keeping your food budget alive, and then reward yourself with a hearty stake before the month rolls over.
Cook your Meals at Home
The best way to go about the food budget is to make your meals – not just the produces you buy – as less expensive as possible. This means you have to cook.
Some people include convenience foods into their budget, and they don’t realize that they can save a LOT of money if they just cook their meals instead.
If you bring about twenty dollars to work everyday to pay for your commute and lunches, you can start bring about ten dollars everyday if you cook and bring your own food.
Related: Frugal Cooking at Home
In that example, you can save fifty dollars of expenses every week. This allows you to either allot less to your food budget or keep the same food budget but enjoy better meals at home.
In addition to cooking your meals yourself, you can start planning your meals. When I say plan your meals, you have to take the future meals into account.
This means dealing with leftovers. If you had a nice dinner of meat and mashed potatoes, you can use the same potatoes for making breakfast in the morning – allowing you to save your other produces for another day.
Always try to replace the foods you eat with similar but cheaper ones.
Either that or mix them with alternatives. For instance, if you need mayo for sandwiches, throw in a little yogurt so your bottle of mayo lasts longer.
If you are making a chicken dish, add a little tofu – which absorbs the chicken flavor – so you are left with more chicken for future meals.
There are a lot more ways you can deal with your food budget. While you can take a lot of tips and tricks from frugal cooking, you don’t really have to. What matters is that you can survive with whatever food budget you have.