Trim your fam­ily’s food bud­get

StarMetro Edmonton - - DAILY LIFE - The price of gro­ceries is ris­ing, but your bills don’t have to soar Alek­san­dra Sa­gan DREAM­STIME SOTHEBY’S/THE NEW YORK TIMES

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

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