Before you can figure out how well you are doing on your food savings you need to ask yourself how much do you spend on food a week right now. Let’s figure this out together.
There isn’t a lot of explaining that is needed here. It’s actually quite simple. How much do you spend on food? You will break this out into two parts: how much you spend on groceries a week and how much do you spend on eating out.
Using Cash to Buy Your Food?
If you use cash and don’t keep receipts then you will have to do a little thinking.
- What do you typically spend at the grocery store each week?
- How often do you usually go?
- What about getting other essentials for your home, like toilet paper? Do you get these when you grocery shop or are they a separate trip? If they are a separate trip then maybe you want to try to guestimate how much is food and how much is essentials.
- How many times do you hit the fast food places a week on average?
- Do you dine out any?
I’m sure there are some weeks you spend more than others so do your best to average these.
Using Debit / Credit Cards to Buy Your Food?
If you use a debit card or credit card then you can break out your statements and do some calculations.
Most of your statements if not will be found online so you don’t even have to wait until they come through the mail. If you even get them in the mail. I don’t. Now that I think about it I can’t remember the last time I got a statement through the mail. Hhmmmm
Anyhow, go online and pull up your account. There should be a section where you can see recent activity and then another area where you can download previous statements.
To do this we will look at the last six weeks to get a good average. So, starting with your most recent write down all the dollar amounts you spent on food. Break these out between groceries and fast food / dining out. Both of these numbers will be good to know when you start comparing them to your numbers after you start meal planning.
Once you have all these amounts written down for the past six weeks then total them. Add up all your grocery amounts. Then add up your fast food and dining out amounts.
For example, let’s say the past six weeks is from 8/8 through 9/18 and the following are groceries:
Total for the six weeks is: 982.00 (I swear I did not plan that out, these were just random numbers. I’m off to play the lottery. Be back shortly)
Now let’s total up the fast food and dining out numbers from 8/8 through 9/18:
Total for six weeks is: $387.63
Alright, your turn… Got them?
Now add these two numbers together to get a total of food cost over the past six weeks. So, for our example it would be $982.00 plus $387.63 to equal $1,369.63 spent on food over the last six weeks.
To get your average amount of what you spent per week you will take the total dollar and divide it by six. So, we have $1,369.63 divided by 6 equals $228.27 being spent on food each week.
In my house, this was actually a low ball number. I like to keep things conservative when it comes to getting better results so that it doesn’t seem to good to be true but honestly… if I’m being completely honest, in my house that number was closer to $300 per week before I started meal planning.
After you get this number for yourself then we can start getting into the nitty gritty of this whole thing.
Ready to start talking about focus planning your dinner?
Action Steps to Complete Before You Continue
1. Add up what you spent on groceries a week by either guestimate if using cash or if using a card then add up the last six weeks of transactions spent on groceries.
2. Add up what you spent on eating out a week by either guestimate if using cash or I using a card then add up the last six weeks.
3a. If using cash then just add the groceries amount and the eating out amount together. This will be what you spend per week by guestimate. OR
3b. If using a card then add up the total of six weeks of groceries and the total of six weeks of eating out then divide by six to get your weekly spent amount on food.
Feel free to share in the comments how much your currently spend on groceries and eating out.
Want the PDF Version?
The Simple Meal Planning Mini Course has been turned into a free PDF you can download to your computer and even print if you want. This PDF also includes space to complete your assignments and take notes.
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