We all have spent a fortune on food the past couple of years. Inflation has caused some items to go up over 60-70%. We have dealt with fresh food that goes bad a few days after we purchase it. We have dealt with a slew of recalls that they tell you to just throw away. That sure is money down the drain. I personally have not thrown a slew of recalls away. That food is too expensive to just throw it away. Take it back to the store or call the manufacturer and insist that they replace it free of charge. Keep an eye on the recall list here: https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts . There are many posted almost every day.
I have dealt with rotten meat and gotten my money back at the store. Don’t let the manufacturer’s of all of these things just pocket your money. I know it takes your time, but do what you have to do to protect your hard earned dollars.
Bottom line is that prices are so high now that I will do whatever needs to be done to not overspend my food budget again. It has been hard to stay below what you think or want to spend. I have gone over it many, many times. I am sure a lot of you have too.
So I have set a monthly budget of $ 534. a month for the two of us in 2024 and that will include any extra meals that we make during the year for our sons’ families or when we have company. This is how we came up with that figure. We went here: https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/resource-files/Cost_Of_Food_Thrifty_Food_Plan_October_2023.pdf and looked at the thrifty plan for our ages. That gave us a total of $ 502. per month for us. Then we added $ 32. more per month as a little buffer for inflation. Hence the $ 534. per month.
We chose the thrifty plan because these government plans are extremely high. Also we do have some food left in our pantry and freezer that we will be using up in 2024.
We also tend not to waste any food. It is too expensive to not use it and just let it rot. We always use up or freeze leftovers for future meals. Twice a week, I check my refrigerator to see what needs to be used up before it goes bad. Then I make a plan to have those on 1-2 leftover days for brunch or dinner. If I have a lot of lettuce that needs to be used up, I will make tacos, taco salads or serve a side salad with a meal. Every veggie that needs to be used up will go into those salads. This year I am also going to make sure that I am not buying too many fresh vegetables and fruits at one time when I shop. I know how much we use, so one to two weeks worth when I shop is what I will buy.
We eat a lot of eggs so I buy the 60 count box from Walmart. The prices have started escalating again because of the bird flu again so I have been buying and freezing eggs to get ahead of the price increases. I just put one egg in each part of an ice cube tray, freeze them, and put them in a Ziploc bag. That way I can pull out one or two to thaw each time I need them. I try to use them up within 4 months for freshness but you can keep them and they will last a year.
I am not renewing my Instacart which expires this month. I found I didn’t use it enough to make it worth it. B.J.’s is expiring the end of this month too. I will make one more trip there before it does. I only need a couple of things. Then I will wait for 6 months or so (after the winter) and use a coupon to get a membership for $ 20. or $ 25. again. The one delivery service that I use a lot is Walmart+ especially in the winter. It just renewed the beginning of this month. I don’t like driving in snow and ice. In my area, Walmart is the cheapest for most things unless they are on sale at the more expensive grocery stores. They even beat Aldi’s on a lot of items. So I check Walmart online whenever I am planning to buy an item at Aldi’s to check the prices. I do not include my memberships or the driver’s tips in in my food budget. We budget those in a category called the Cost of Food Delivery.
I am also planning on using some sources for food that are farther away from where I live. But they will only be used when things are at rock bottom prices and I have other errands in that direction. I have to make my expenditure of gas worth it.
I could write a lot more but you will see the things I do during the year to save with posts that I put up.
Have you set a budget for 2024 for food?