Guide: Build a Grocery Budget

You clicked over to this site for a reason. And making it past the first couple sentences of this article means you’re somewhat motivated. So, what is your motivation?

Are you ready to adopt a more economically sustainable lifestyle? Do you want to reduce food expenses and stick to a budget? Looking to be more organized? Are you just a budget nerd who likes to read my finance rambles for fun? All of the above?

Great. You’re on the right track.

Now whenever budgeting seems tedious, remember your WHY and you’ll stick to your WHAT.

It’ll help you stick to your HOW MUCH.

I’m guessing most of you probably have some semblance of a budget to start out. Fabulous.

If you need a quick refresher, just remember the basics:

INCOME – (FIXED COSTS + VARIABLE COSTS) = SAVINGS

Using that simple equation, we’re going to flesh out your unique food budget. Let’s call this your foodie formula.

AVAILABLE INCOME

(FIXED COSTS: membership costs, subscriptions, etc.

+

VARIABLE COSTS: non-perishables / online, grocery, dining out, miscellaneous extras)

= SAVINGS

Here’s an example of what a fleshed-out foodie formula could look like:

I’ve created a blank Foodie Formula Template to help you lay out your expenses and determine a bottom line.

The first step is understanding your available income. This would most likely be your remaining income balance after “life costs” like rent, insurance, etc. are removed. Calculate this total and then spread into weekly allowances.

To determine a specific food budget, we need to start by outlining your food-related fixed costs.

What are your reoccurring expenses related to food? Is it a Thrive Market membership? A Misfits Market delivery? Maybe you like curated boxes of tea from Sips By to show up at your doorstep?

Write them down. Divide by 4 to amortize the costs across the weeks of the month.

Moving on to variable costs. As the name suggests, these are variable. They can (and will) change. In order to get the most accurate estimate, check out your historical expenses for the past month. Bucket them into the following categories:

  1. Non-Perishables / Online Purchases
  2. Grocery Store Visits
  3. Coffee / Beverages
  4. Dining Out
  5. Miscellaneous

Add the totals from the above categories and divide by 4. This will approximate your weekly variable budget.

You have an income allowance, measured fixed costs, and approximated variable expenses. Take a minute to fill out the foodie formula template.

What’s left in the bottom box?

  1. Negative Number: Whoops. You’re overspending. Revisit your subscriptions. Are they all absolutely necessary? What about that large latte budget. Does it really need that much buffer? Tweak and reconfigure until that negative balance disappears.
  2. Positive Number: Congrats! You have a sustainable, balanced foodie formula. You can now use these values as measurable check points when tracking your budget.

Wow. Don’t you feel organized? Energized by investing time into your financial health? I hope so.

Always feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, concerns, etc. Shoot me an email or message me over on Instagram!