Kristen Ahlenius — We need to talk. You probably spend too much money on food. Your regular grocery shopping, intermittent specialty shopping, and a miscellaneous mid-week trip because you ran out of bread; this adds up. But we’re not done. You also spend money on fast food, date night, coffee runs, and drinks after work. Do you know how I know you spend too much money on food? Because I do, too.
I’m approaching you as an equal as I struggle to keep my food spending under control, too. It’s so easy to spend money on food and drinks, especially during this pandemic. Right now our trips to the store are less ruled by our budget and more ruled by availability. That’s why, within reason, I’m giving you a pass (for now). But, when life returns to normal, we have to reign it in. Here are my top three tips for decreasing your food spending.
- Grocery Pick-Up
Schedule a once a week pickup. You can add items to your cart as you run out during the week. Your total will update as you add items ensuring you don’t exceed your weekly budget.
- Be honest. Fast food doesn’t save you time
I’m on my way home and tell myself just running through the drive-thru will save me some time. But, let’s be honest. By the time I order, wait in line, and make it home I’ve not saved any time. I could have saved time and money by just making a quick sandwich at home. Your wallet will thank you, and frankly, so will your heart.
- Order Water at a restaurant
$3.99 for a soda? $5 for a beer? No thanks, I’ll take a water.
The bottom line is that you should try to spend no more than 12% of your take home pay on groceries/dining out.
Anecdotally, I’m pretty sure most people spend above this recommended percentage. So take these tips and use them to decrease your spending. Skip the drive thru, reduce your trips to the grocery story, and reduce your bill when you dine out. You won’t be able to accomplish them all right away but a combination application will ensure you reduce your overall spending.
Damian is the lead Financial Concierge on Your Money Line, the financial help line serving all Pete the Planner® Financial Wellness clients. Damian is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and loves answering your money questions. Despite sharing a last name and sense of humor, Damian and Pete are not related.