Helpful Food Budgeting

Tips to save money at the grocery store.

When the topic of improving money management comes up in class, generally one of the first ways folks think about is saving on food purchases at the grocery store. A report by No Kid Hungry notes that 85 percent of low-income families prioritize healthy eating. However, that can lead to variable costs. For example, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a family of four trying to live a moderate lifestyle can expect to spend at least $247.10 per week on food. A more frugal weekly budget goal would run $151.20 a week. This nearly $100 dollar savings can be obtained by following a few simple tips:

  • Start by tracking costs by saving receipts or writing expenses in a journal or calendar. A great resource to help with this is the Consumer’s Almanac (AFSAEF). Reflect on your purchases at the end of the week to see how you can make changes to cut costs. 
  • To make cost-saving changes in your budget, plan your shopping list ahead of time. Base your list around pre-planned meals using fresh fruit and vegetables. A simple healthy change might include replacing sugary fruit snacks with nutritious apples, oranges and bananas. 
  • Compare prices between discount food warehouses, farmer’s markets, and different grocery stores. 
  • To save even more money, find coupons for items on your shopping list.

Making improvements in your financial situation can be time consuming and difficult. If you have questions, or would like to ask an expert, Michigan State University Extension has access to many resources. Visit the MiMoneyHealth page for more information and answers to your questions.

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