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How to Track Your Food Expenses

The very first step to spend less on food is to track expenses.  Tracking every single dollar helps you to know how much you are really spending so that you can decide if you would rather be spending your money on something else!  I can almost guarantee that you will be surprised at how much you are spending on food.

How to Track Food Expenses-Expense Tracker

Food expenses especially are hard to keep up with because we have to eat all the time!  But it doesn't have to be too painful to track your food expenses-here are three steps to make it easy.

Step 1:  Save your receipts

Pick a place to put all your receipts.  Save every grocery store receipt, restaurant receipt, and online shopping receipt.  You will need a place to keep your receipts.  I keep my receipts in my purse and then transfer them to my desk.  If I order something online, I wait till I receive the receipt when my order arrives.  Then I make sure the receipt gets to my desk.

Some people have a designated basket or jar for their receipts.  If you want a cute option, you could use a cute jar like these from Amazon and label the jar "receipts".

Step 2:  Get a Food Expense Tracker  

I have a printable Food Expense Tracker where you can easily record your every food expense and know how much you spent in each category.  There are columns for each category so that you can tell at a glance how much you spent at grocery stores, online retailers, and eating out.  You can sign up for the printable below.  (Once you sign up you will be sent a download link, and you can print off the expense tracker.)

Step 3-Record All Money Spent on Food on the Expense Tracker.  

Set aside time once a month and go through all your receipts (or do it weekly if you prefer).  Go through every receipt and record every food expense on the expense tracker.  Of course, if you spent money on groceries and clothing at Walmart, you will need to subtract anything that is not a food expense.  Another option is to do two transactions at Walmart-one for your groceries and one for your miscellaneous items.  

Your tracker will look something like this when you are filling it out.

Food Expense Tracker

And that's it!  At the end of 1 month, total all your expenses at the bottom of the expense tracker.  Don't forget to grab your free printable tracker!

Free Printable Food Expense Tracker

The average American family of four spends between $713 and and $881 monthly on food eaten at home according to the USDA.  These numbers are based on eating food at home.  The cost of eating at restaurants is substantially more-I would venture to say that eating out could easily add $100-$400 more to the monthly food cost.

Free Expense Tracker

I spend way less than the average even though I buy healthy food including organics.  One of the reasons is because I track my food expenses.  Tracking how much I spend helps me to stay accountable to my budget.  If you have never tracked your expenses, I highly recommend trying it for a month or two.  Seeing how much you spend is highly motivating.  It makes you think about what things besides food that you could be spending your money on!

Spending less on food might enable you to do things you would rather do like:

  • Stay home with your kids 
  • Experience new things 
  • Take vacations or do fun things with your family
  • Splurge on something that you want (For me-I like to buy something pretty for the house or quality non toxic makeup!)
  • Save for a house or a car

No matter what your goal, tracking your expenses is a great first step toward accomplishing what you want to accomplish.  I have a free printable to make tracking your expenses easier.  I designed it where you can list where you spent the money and how much you spent in each category.  

Here is a sample of what the columns in the expense tracker will look like when they are filled out:

Free Expense Tracker
As you can see, there will be totals for each category (grocery stores, online shopping and eating out).  This way you can see easily if there is a category that you want to spend less on.  There is also a space for the grand total so that you can know what you spend on food for the whole month.

Ready to start tracking?  Fill out the form below for your free printable!

Free Printable Menu Planners-Options for Busy Moms

How Menu Planning saves Money, Health, and Sanity

Planning meals can be a serious money saver.  Homemade meals cost very little compared to eating out, and the chances of eating a homemade meal are much higher if mom has a plan!

Meal planning also helps moms to serve healthier food, because without a plan, it is much easier to slide back into bad habits-like serving cereal 3 times a week for supper.  Not that anyone I know has ever done that.  :)

Meal planning can also minimize the before supper chaos that looks something like this:

Child 1: I'm hungry

Child 2: Me too!

Mom:  Ok.  (Although she is thinking that she has no idea what is for supper, and she is doubtful that she has enough time to figure anything out.)

Child 1: When is supper?  What are we having?

Mom:  Um, well I bought some healthy food, but I haven't had time to figure out what to do with it.  Um....... (The stress level is beginning to seriously rise and mom considers ordering pizza).

Having a meal plan can make this type of stress go away!  But, I know that not everyone benefits from the same type of meal planning.  For me, I often plan what we are going to eat for one meal, and I don't plan for the others.  Because we cook extra when we do cook, and we eat those leftovers at the next meal.

I often even eat leftovers for breakfast-usually it is much healthier than a traditional breakfast anyway.

If you are like me and only want to plan one meal like your dinners, you may find that my basic dinner planner will help you.  This type of planner is also great for beginners on the clean eating journey.  Because if you only can handle planning and cooking one healthy meal a day, it is still better than none!

Click here or the picture below to get this basic type of planner.

Free Printable Menu Planners

You'll notice that in the picture above, there are two planners.  Both are included in the free printable pack along with my Cheap Clean Eating Grocery List.  One of the meal planners I labeled  "Dinner Planner" so that you could just plan one meal a day.

The other one says Meal Planner.  This If you want to plan more than just your dinners each day.  This planner could have breakfast, lunch, and supper on it if you desired.  Just write the meal and the menu for each meal on each days space like this:

One More Free Printable :)

I have another meal planner with a different layout.  It doesn't include Saturday and Sunday which might be perfect for you if you want to eat leftovers or eat out on the weekends.  It is also different visually-I know that sometimes a certain layout will make more sense to me than another layout.

There are spaces for every meal that will be eaten during the week.

Click here or the graphic below to download this planner.

Free Printable Menu Planner

If you need ideas of what to cook or if cooking everyday seems a little overwhelming, check out my Super Quick, Healthy, and Cheap Meal Plan.  There are some tips and tricks on the meal plan to help make healthy meals come together quicker and easier.  And of course the meal plan has easy healthy recipes!

Cheap Clean Eating Grocery List-Free Printable!

Cheap Clean Eating Grocery List

Cheap Clean Eating Grocery List

Want really healthy non toxic food for really cheap prices?  Check out this cheap clean eating grocery list to help you on your next shopping trip!  The free printable version (along with the printable menu planners) are available down below.

Think of this list as the master grocery list of cheap clean eating foods.  You don't have to buy everything on the list at one time if you don't want to.  These are just the cheapest clean eating foods around.

These foods are truly healthy-no chemicals, no processed foods, and no white sugar (maybe a tiny amount in the peanut butter).

Super Quick Healthy Cheap Meal Plan

Quick and Healthy Meal Plan

Super Quick Healthy Meals on a Budget

Are you super busy and need a plan for some healthy dinners for this week?  And, need those meals to be extra cheap?  Here is a menu plan that covers all the bases:  the meals are really cheap and easy, but still nourishing and healthy.

Natural Stain Removers for Laundry

Natural Non Toxic Stain Removers

Natural Stain Removers for Laundry

When I first decided that I didn't want to put toxins in my laundry (skin can easily absorb poisons), I knew I needed to change my detergent and stain removers.  I honestly had no idea where to start.  Reading the labels at the grocery store seemed to require a PhD in chemistry!  Plus, I have hard water so that makes getting my laundry clean more challenging.

Non Toxic Makeup-Lip Color Without Heavy Metals

Non Toxic Heavy Metal Free Lip Color

Makeup can be tricky when it comes to finding non toxic alternatives.  Most makeup is full of really bad ingredients, and sometimes it is just easier to wear it less than to try to find safe makeup!  But after much research (and trial and error), I now have some makeup that I really like and feel safe wearing.