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Budgeting food money to last through the month

Eating healthy and sticking to your budget is possible! It starts with a plan. Set your family up for success by planning meals and snacks in a way that works for your family, your budget and your schedule. The tools below allow you to look at what you’re spending now and how you can make small changes that add up to big savings.

To know your monthly food budget, you can look back to how much you have spent on food in the past. You will probably adjust the amount budgeted for food over the next few months as you incorporate menu planning and smart shopping. Chances are you will realize you can get by on less food money than you previously spent and still have more food in the house.

  • Remember to include all SNAP benefits and WIC vouchers in your budget, and factor in food you may get for free from your garden or a friend’s garden or food pantry.

If you shop once a week, divide your monthly food dollars into four portions, one for each week. If most of the shopping is done once per month, make sure to budget part of the food dollars for items you will need to purchase later in the month.

Possible budgeting methods:

  • Put cash in envelopes, one for each week. Once the cash is gone, the grocery budget is gone.
  • Keep track of the total food budget and subtract from it every time you go to the store. Once the total reaches zero, the grocery budget is spent.
  • Think of sticking to the food budget as a form of insurance against being hungry at the end of the month. It takes some self-control not to spend the entire budget at the beginning of the month, but it is definitely worth making it last.
  • Involve children tip: have your children use a calculator in the store to help stay within the budget.