The days when my food budget and meal preparation were efficient works of art are far behind me. The result has been an increase in spending on food in the forms of grocery shopping, convenience food purchases, and eating away from home. Getting Real About Food Budgets will be presented in 3 installments. Part 1 will focus on grocery shopping. Part 2 will provide guideance on convenience food purchases. The last installment, part 3, will jump into the tricky territory of eating away from home for both restaurants, travel, and social activities.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates monthly food costs for various levels. On the more economical side, there are the thrifty and the low-cost plans which show that a female in my age group would spend ~$165-210 per month on food. A moderate cost plan for a female 19-50 years of age would cost ~$ 260 per month. A healthful diet does not break the bank and if planned, can save you money.
Access the October 2017 publication HERE to see food budget estimates for your age and sex.
Convenience Food Purchases
Convenience food purchases may be less expensive or just as expensive as eating at a restaurant. Last week a roast beef and horseradish cheddar on baquette cost me $4.99. A pre-packaged single serve salad ranges from $4.99-9.99 depending on the ingredients. In comparison, I could package salads at home for the entire week for less than $10. Keeping to a food budget means making strategic choices on if and when you plan to purchase convenience food items.
Eating Away From Home
We are deep into the holiday season which brings with it events that might center on food. Tonight I am hosting a fondue night as our entertainment while we wait to see what children (if any) brave our semi-isolated location. As a hostess I plan for dietary issues of guests but I also plan for having some balance in my own eating. When eating away from home you should plan ahead to a resonable degree. The article on eating away from home will present economical and practical strategies.
Stay tuned for these postings and check out the food budget estimates. I will be planning a future posting on my own food budget with associated menu which will take place throughout the month of November. I selected November as it includes time at home, travel by car with hotel stays, and eating at restaurants.