Food is the basic necessity of life. Without food a person cannot survive. This is exactly why a large part of the monthly budget consists of food expenses. How much to budget for food, includes a lot aspects. They can include groceries, eating out, and other things which require in the food category. It must be remembered that there is no hard and fast rule for setting the budget of food. It can vary from person to person and family to family. Every person or family has their own eating habits and fulfills their needs accordingly. But it is important for everyone to have a budget every month so that excessive spending can be prevented.
Setting Food Budget Rules
For every individual or family, some rules should be set from the start. This can help in planning the budget accordingly.
1) Decide days where you will eat out. Do not eat out every day. Not only can it be expensive but it can also be unhealthy causing some serious health concerns.
2) Buy grocery as per the requirements of your food. This means that make estimates about how much of a food product you will need. For example, one bottle of oil may be enough for an individual who cooks for themselves only. So that person should buy only one bottle of oil instead of buying multiple.
3) Do not waste food (whether it has been made at home or it is just left over from the restaurant). If a person does not eat everything then they can either freeze the leftover amount and eat it the next day or a few days later. This will set the budget straight.
4) Everyone should be honest about their food habits. It is impossible to say that a person will always cook at home and no one will dine out. This is because everyone likes to eat out every once in a while. Similarly, it is also impossible to say that a person will never cook at home and hence requires no grocery. While setting a budget realistic approach must be used.
Related: How Much Savings Should be Invested?
How much to Budget for 1 Person Food
A person living on their own MUST plan their budget to avoid extra expenses. It varies person to person as everyone has their own eating habits. Individuals who live alone mostly claim that they have no time to cook for themselves. But it is generally not the case. A person who has the time to watch shows on television, go out after work with friends on a daily basis can manage their time to cook at home at least once or twice in a week. Cooking at home is recommended not because it is cheap but because it is healthy and can be stored for a day or two at least.
An estimated budget of $250 to $350 can be set for an individual person who likes to eat at home and does more grocery as compared to eating out. On the other hand, if a person likes to eat out more (4 to 5 times a week) they should have a monthly food budget of $400 to $500.
Food Budgeting for Couples
When two people live together as a couple, they can divide their responsibilities amongst each other. This means that cooking becomes much easier to manage. Couples can sit down at the start of every month and decide on a schedule about who will cook when. This way the burden will be less and hence food can be cooked and eaten at home more often.
Weekly or monthly grocery can be done together and the expenses can be divided amongst the couple. Apart from eating home, couples should dine out to have a date night every once in a while. This is why monthly food budget must be allocated by couples in such a way that it includes the cost of eating out.
If both of the people are working, it is estimated that each must contribute around $300 to $400 in order to eat luxuriously and get the best groceries. So a total of $800 must be set aside for the budget of the food.
Budgeting for Families
The bigger the family, the greater expenses they will have. Same applies on food budgeting. A family which has multiple children will mostly likely be spending a lot more money as compared to the one with a single child. Budgeting for food in families must be done very carefully because there are many other expenses which need to be catered apart from food.
It takes around $150 to $250 when feeding a child between the ages of 1 to 12. This includes the cost of taking them to restaurants and eating out. An adult requires around $300 to $400. This means that a total of $1000 will be spent on food.
How Much to Budget for Food if you are a Student?
College life is the best life. Even when it comes to budgeting for food. Since students are busy and living on their own in dorms and hostels, it becomes very difficult for them to cook their own food. This is why they mostly eat out in restaurants. Moreover, when they are out with friends studying or working on some project, they can sit in a restaurant somewhere. This means that they will be spending some amount on snacks, drinks, and coffee. But since there are no other major expenses (in most scenarios) they can have a bigger budget in food.
A college student can set a budget of $300 to $400. This includes the expense of eating out monthly and grocery shopping (if in the scenario that food is cooked at home).
Budgeting for food can be a fun task. Grocery shopping can seem like a tiresome task but when it is done by following a proper budget, it can become easy and straightforward. It is important to remember that everyone has their own purchasing power. This is why budgeting varies from a person to person. The above discussion is just an estimated amount. Not everyone will find it suitable to your needs. People can take an idea from the mentioned information.