About the Author: My name is Ally Kuehn. I am a 21 year old, senior at Ohio University majoring in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics. I am preparing myself to graduate in May 2017. My goals are to become happy and healthier person through nutrition, health and wellness. Instagram: Kuehnhealth Website: Click Here to see KuehnHealth Blog
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients” Julia Child. Through my own personal experience with food budgeting, I can help you spend $100 or less on groceries each month. Follow these steps to be successful with food budgeting and creating happy, healthy meals for yourself or loved ones!
Outlining your financials:
The first step to successs is to determine how much you currently spend on food each month. Try to include eating out, grocery shopping, coffee, etc. From
here, you can then calculate your maximum and minimum monthly budget.
Let’s use the $100 budget for purposes of this article. I go grocery shopping every week and spend about $25 or less each time. This budget is for one person. Depending on how many people you are shopping for, you might spend a little more. How frequently you shop will depend on your personal schedule- sometimes when my schedule is crazy, I will go every other week and spend around $50.
Creating a grocery list:
The first step is to look online at you go-to grocery store’s website you and find the weekly ads to see what foods are on sale or discounted. This can help decrease your overall cost. I surveyed some friends of mine with various food budgets and food preferences to find out how they make their grocery lists. Some find Pinterest to be very helpful. Some know what foods they like or don’t so they just make a list based upon those preferences. Others just get the items they run out of or pick out two to three new recipes they want to try that have similar ingredients. Pick whatever method you think is the most realistic for you! Then, select the foods that can be used more than once. Know your staple items! Some of mine are eggs, almond milk, multi grain cereal, tortillas and bread. These are items I buy every two weeks to make my trip successful!
I have created a sample grocery list (vegetarian with eggs) that I have used many times in my travels. This is a $50 list (depending on weekly sales) that I use every other week.
Selecting a grocery store or farmers market can play into how much you spend as well. One chain grocery store I have found to offer low cost, high quality ingredients is Aldi’s. Find one that you enjoy going to and also has lower cost options. If you have a grocery store you go to that has a rewards point system, I highly recommend signing up! You can save a lot of money
and earn coupons with reward points. Using coupons is not myth, they really do save you money! Again, also try to stay current with the weekly ad before going to the store.
All the while, don’t forget to keep in mind your overall goal to make healthy choices. It can be easy to just grab processed junk foods. While you might feel that the time you save is worth it, eating all this junk in the long run won’t make you feel better. Healthy food like fruits and vegetables help fill your stomach and can keep you fuller longer! Plus, making healthy choices can improve your overall energy levels and well being!
- Get creative:
You know the feeling when you look in your closet and you have nothing to wear? This can also take place in the kitchen when you look in the fridge and you feel like you have no food. This is when it’s time for you to use that creative mind you have and be resourceful!
Sometimes it might feel like you have nothing left and you have to go shopping to make a decent meal, but you’d be surprised by the tasty and unique combinations you can come up with what you have left in your fridge/pantry! Try to use what you have before going shopping to avoid unnecessary waste. We want to stick to our original budget plan! So what can you do with those random items? Last week this happened to me and I threw together left overs I had in my fridge. I had rice in my cupboard, canned black beans, corn, green peppers, a veggie burger in the freezer, and salsa. I threw all those in a bowl and made an awesome burrito bowl. Honestly it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time and the fact that it was unplanned made it even better…and the leftovers were just as tasty!
❤ Ally Kuehn