How Should You Budget for Groceries?


Quick Answer

Consumers budget for groceries by estimating food needs, tracking grocery spending and planning ahead with a meal plan and grocery list. The grocery budget is part of the family's larger budget and its value depends on the number of people to be fed and the amount of money available.

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Full Answer

A consumer should start with an overall budget that includes both fixed expenses and variable expenses. Groceries fit into the variable expenses category along with things like entertainment, gas, clothing, gifts and eating out. The total expenses need to be less than the total income. A consumer can get an estimate of how much is available for groceries after creating the rest of the household budget.

Tracking past grocery expenses is another way to set the budget. The consumer should save receipts or use a financial tracking program to determine how much goes to groceries each week. Calculating the average gives the consumer a rough estimate of how much goes to groceries. If this amount fits in with the overall budget, the consumer is on track. If the amount is higher, the family may need to cut back on grocery spending. Meal planning and shopping strictly to a list can help with this, although doing these well takes practice.

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