My husband is a planner and he LOVES his budget.
His inner accountant comes out of hiding at the beginning of each month when he looks over all of our expenses from the previous month and enters them into his itemized Excel spreadsheet.
I hate ‘budget night’ because it means going over each and every dollar we have spent:
“What’s this charge at the mall?” “What did we get at the drug store?” “There is a debit withdrawal here for $80. What was that for?” “Do you have any idea how much we spent last month on food???”
Sigh. No, I don’t know. But I’m guessing that we exceeded whatever arbitrary amount we decided food should cost. If only food DID cost what we think it SHOULD cost. That would leave more room for sweaters or ankle boots for me and cute little jeans for the kids. But, alas, it’s not to be.
Food is one of those weird budget items that can be tough to track as most people tend to buy food frequently. Sometimes it seems like we are only making small food purchases, but when you add them up over the month food takes up a whopping proportion of our take-home salary. How can we eat well, with lots of variety, and still keep our food bill under control? Get organized! It is estimated that the average family of four people throws out about $590 worth of food every year. By following the tips below, you can minimize that food waste. This is good for your wallet and for the planet.
Maximizing your food's "Return On Investment"
|The "What"||The "How"|
|Make a plan||Make a meal plan and write a grocery list based on what you need for the week. Make sure to check your fridge and pantry so you don't buy things that you already have.|
|Beware the impulse||When you're at the grocery store, don't be tempted by impulse items. Only buy what you came for. It isn't a "good deal" if you end up throwing it out.|
|First in, first out||When you get home, make sure you put the new food behind the older food. Use up older food first.|
|Keep your cool||Make sure your fridge and freezer temperatures are set to less than 4C and -18C, respectively. This will maximize freshness and prolong shelf-life|
|Waste not want not||Pur over-ripe fruit and vegetables in the freezer to be used later in smoothies, baking or soup.|
|Think about the future||Freeze foods that you can't use up quickly: larger packages of mean, loaves of bread, etc. You may need to repackage them to prevent freezer burn.|
Which leaves me asking “Do you have these boots in a 9 ½”?