We are keeping you and your wallet happy with wallet wellness and budget friendly healthy eating without the need to spend six hours extreme couponing! The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds the average American household spends most of its money on just three things: housing, transportation, and food. In episode 50, we cover food budgeting, the best buys to fit your nutrition goals, tools to save money on food and supplements and tips to avoid overspending.
How much are we spending and how much should you spend on food? Factors will include where you live, income and household size. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend, on average, around 6% of their budget on food 5% of their disposable income on dining out, making the average food budget 11% of overall income. So, tip one, if you are spending almost as much dining out as you do on groceries, cut back on dining out. The best way to start figuring out what you can and should spend on food is by doing a spending journal. In episode 14 ‘Where’s Your Money Going’ we shared that the average household throws out close to 20-30% of food. If you spend $100 a week on groceries and dining out, that’s $20-30 worth of food a week!
Next, we cover the best buys to fit your budget and nutrition goals.
Macro diets: your options are really endless! A benefit of macro plans is when you stick to it, you keep portions in check (and therefore can save money!). To reduce your spending on proteins, utilize eggs, chicken and whey protein powder- a great option that won’t go bad after a few days like meat or poultry. If you are deciding between organic and conventional poultry, read Emily's blog post here about chicken labeling.
Vegan: For vegetarians and vegans, utilize the bulk bin section at stores like Fresh Thyme, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. You can restock on rice, beans, oats, nuts and seeds here. Plus less waste from re-buying boxes and bags when you refill your own containers at home. Big bags of dry rice and dry beans are a good deal too.
Blood sugar management: for people with diabetes or prediabetes, here are six of the best budget friendly foods to buy:
Plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
Skinless chicken breasts or thighs and pork loin
For planning a budget, try Mint. Mint is a tool to help you keep track of where your money is going and allows you to set monthly budgets for a variety of categories including health-related budgets like groceries, restaurants and fitness.
Growing herbs and vegetables can help you save money if you plan correctly. Otherwise you might spend more buying too many plants, pots and soil and not have the time to attend to your garden to get the most yield. If you are new to it, try a few container plants. You can save money by starting from seeds or look for deals at farmers markets or nurseries on plants. Check your state or county’s Extension office for master gardener plant sales.
Grocery ads are still a tried-and-true way to see what deals are going on in your favorite store, plus you can compare stores. However, if you like using technology, try the Favado app. The app pulls multiple ads into one spot so you can compare deals by department. In the St. Louis area the app includes Aldi, Costco, Schnucks, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods.
Last, we share three tips to avoid overspending on food.
First, be aware of your tendencies to fall for the “thrill of the hunt.” Yes, it might be a good deal but do you really need it right now?
Second is to buy in bulk but NOT more than you’ll use before it goes bad.
And third, if you tend to be an impulse buyer, become a cash operation. Know how much you want to spend at the store and bring just that much cash. This works well too when your dining out since most of the time you have been to the restaurant and have an idea of what the prices will be. Home delivery for groceries is a sure way to avoid impulse purchases! You will order online exactly what you need and it’s delivered to your door. The cost of delivery is likely less than what might be spent on impulse buys at the store! We like Shipt and Instacart.