Budgeting your food money affects what your family consumes, their health, how much you spend on medical care, how often you eat out, and how well you save. By lowering our food budget to the United Stated Department of Agriculture’s Cost of Food at Home’s lowest cost food plan–“The Thrifty Plan,” –our family has been able to eat well and save over the past 30 years, and you can too!
My quest for lowering the food budget began when planning to travel to England to meet my Navy submariner husband. Funds were unavailable. The only place to slash was food. This is when I began to employ my SOS Principles so that I could "SOS: See Our Sailor. What I want to stress is the letters SOS are for an international distress signal, but they are also a very easy way to control your finances by applying them.
THE FIRST–SOS is SET OUR SPENDING.
This SOS means that you set your spending limits based on the USDA recommendations for cost of food at home. https://www.fns.usda.gov/cnpp/usda-food-plans-cost-food-reports-monthly-reports For example, if I take each of the weekly Costs of Food at Home and calculate for my NOW family of three, four significant figures develop. The Thrifty Plan for my husband, myself, and our 14 year old daughter is $108.80; the Low-Cost Plan is $138.30; the Moderate Plan is $169.10; and the Liberal Plan is $205.40. Thus a $100 savings exists between the Thrifty and Liberal Weekly Plans.
THE SECOND–SOS is SALVAGE OLD STUFF.
Yes take stock of what you have. Yes, delve into your pantry, your cupboards, and your food shelves in the basement or garage. Look at the expiration date, ask yourself if you are ever! going to use that can of pickled pig’s feet, and if in doubt–throw it out. Also look into your refrigerator and see what you can combine to create anew. Can that dying carrot be thrown into a stew with the wilted celery and sprouting potatoes? Get creative. SOS: Salvaging Old Stuff can actually pocket money up front, for you can probably live on what’s in your pantry for several weeks if you are like most Americans.
Next time–Part 2 HOW TO SHOP