Trim your family’s food budget
Two often-cited rules of personal finance dictate that 10 per cent of income should go to savings, and that no more than 30 per cent should go to housing.
But when it comes to how much people should budget to feed themselves, there are no hard and fast rules.
It’s important to consider income, as well as some costcutting strategies, when arriving at a reasonable budget in an era of rising food prices.
“It does pay to have a good solid budget for grocery,” said Christine Williston, a North Vancouver-based money coach with Money Coaches Canada.
The minimum should be $200 per person, per month, she said. For a family of three, that would be roughly $138 weekly, though she notes On average, Canadians spend between $200 and $230 a month on groceries.
people with limited incomes may have less than that to work with.
Spending just $200 a month per person may well be difficult, Williston said, as groceries have been getting more expensive. A family of four will spend $11,948 on groceries and eating out ($230
per week) in 2018, according to an annual food price report by Dalhousie University professor Sylvain Charlebois.
Still, there are some simple ways to cut costs and move closer to the $200 mark. Alyssa Fischer, a personal finance blogger living in Fort McMurray, Alta., tracked her calorie consumption to lower her shopping bills. She found the extra attention to how often she was eating out helped her reduce the frequency. While that brought her and her husband’s grocery budget up by about $100 a month, it reduced their entertainment budget.
Fisher and her husband also shop at a store where they can rack up points for free groceries. The couple only eat vegetarian meals at home to help cut costs, but allow themselves to order meat dishes at restaurants.
Williston advises finding ways to incorporate food close to spoiling to reduce food waste. The average Canadian tosses away 170 kilograms of food, according to a report released earlier this year by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation, an environmental watchdog agency set up under NAFTA. Just after it sold for $1.4M at a Sotheby’s auction, Girl with Balloon — by Banksy — was destroyed by a remotecontrol shredder in the frame. Experts say the street artist’s prank may have increased the work’s worth.
OFF-THE-WALL JOKE AT THESTAR.COM/ ENTERTAINMENT