Food bills can be reduced by using a written budget to determine how much will be spent on food for the month. Continuously being over budget, may point to the fact that the actual amount of food eaten is underestimated. Here are three tips to help lower food bills.
Spend some time and review all of the grocery receipts from the past month. Include receipts for snacks and lunches. The current written budget may have an unrealistic amount set aside for food. If you eat out often, due to their being undesirable groceries at home consider increasing the amount of the grocery budget. Add the total of the grocery receipts, and write that number down. If convenience foods will prevent eating out at restaurants, add them to the grocery list. This is the dollar amount the monthly food budget should be. Set aside some money if the budget allows for eating out.
Use the cash envelope system to control impulse spending. Visit the ATM machine and withdraw enough cash for the grocery and immediate meal needs. While shopping in the grocery store it will be harder to face potential embarrassment at the checkout counter, by going over budget. Many people blindly go through the store adding items to their cart, without keeping a running tally.
Restaurant Gift Certificates
Purchase local gift certificates to restaurants. These establishments offer a substantial discount on meals redeemed during lunch, weeknights, and early evenings. Dine in resturants with restaurant gift certificates instead of eating fast food, or in more expensive restaurants. Keep at least one gift certificate in the glove compartment or wallet for easy access during the dinner hours.
In the event the grocery budget is not high enough, find other areas in the household budget to take away from. There may be some bills that can be reduced. Think of large expenses that are paid each month. Lowering large bills can help to free up immediate income. Examples of items to try to lower are insurance payments, unnecessary monthly subscriptions, and high-interest loans.
Think about the number of credit card payments or installment loans that are paid out each month. Eliminating one or more of these debts will free up money to add to the food budget. Write down the amount that is paid out each month on outstanding debts. If there is absolutely no area of the budget that can be skimmed to use for food, take steps to create more income. This could be from using coupons, shopping weekly sales, or picking up additional work. Use these tips to increase the food budget