Thursday, August 25, 2011

Set a Family Budget With Food Costs in Mind

Ask any family what a significant fraction of their monthly income goes to and they will say its food. We all need to eat and most people also want to keep their families healthy by purchasing and preparing meals that are good for them.

For a growing family of four this can be a challenge. Food is not inexpensive and if you’re feeding children it can seem as though they are always eating. When it comes time to set a family budget, you have to consider not only what you are eating, but what it is costing you.

One factor that many people don’t calculate into their food buying budget is the price of eating out. They may view this as separate from their weekly grocery bill, but the cost can be significant and should be considered.

If you are eating away from home more than twice a month, you might be doing the food portion of your family budget a disservice. Eating meals out, whether they are from a fast food establishment or a four star restaurant are costly. You are not only paying for the price of the food, but you are also contributing handsomely to the preparation costs along with the overhead of the restaurant.

It’s lovely to have someone else cook for you and often this is the impetus for people to dine out. They are too tired from a stressful day to even consider the idea of putting on an apron and whipping up a dinner. Instead they look to the take-out menu or buy a pre-packaged dinner that costs several times what the individual ingredients would.

If your job is to set a family budget, you should not only look at ways to cost food costs but also consider who is responsible for preparing the meals. If one person has to plan the menu, purchase the food and prepare it, that can become monotonous and can actually lead to a family spending more money on food because there is a greater temptation for that person to want to get away from the kitchen on occasion.

When you are sitting down to set a family budget include all members of the family. In addition to planning an affordable meal plan, also prepare a shopping and cooking schedule. Perhaps everyone who is old enough to cook could take an active role, taking on the chore for one evening a week. This approach works well because everyone gets involved and the person who was normally the family’s chef, now enjoy the luxury of being catered to.

With some alterations and planning your family’s food costs can be decreased dramatically. Choose menu plans that feed not only your appetites but fit into your bank account. When you set a family budget consider the idea of eating meals that contain costly ingredients like meat less and meals that contain fresh vegetables more. Not only will you save money but you’ll also gain the benefit of a healthier body.

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