How Food Budgeting Echos Overall Spending

by Bill on March 5, 2012

You always hear of how to save on overall spending via tips such as cutting cable TV, cell phone plans, shopping and other spending. How often do you relate overall spending to food management? Now follow me on this for a moment; yes we all need food, but at what cost to the overall household spending is that food being used? What is the perception of food management in relation to the overall spending habits of the household?

Let’s do an example and go from there.

I went out on March 1st to buy the pets some food. We have a few cats and a dog living here with us, so managing how food is used in the house is important. It helps conserve the finances and keep excess spending in check – or at least that’s what the theory is. I went out and bought ten cans of tuna, 2 cans of salmon and 2 large cans of chicken. We also have dry cat food here. The reason I’m writing this post is part rant and part point – in two days, the cats went through all the cans of tuna and salmon, and one can of chicken; that’s $15 worth of food.

The point being that the food was used up too quickly. I tend to balance the food so that the cans of food are a treat in the morning, not part of every meal. My roommate goes the opposite and keeps handing out canned food. Needless to say her spending habits are not in line with mine.

My former roommates, the family now living upstairs, have the same problem. No perception of food management in relation to the overall spending for the household. In other words, food that is used too quckly, not used up or tossed away as waste is mismanaged and wasted spending – that makes the food wasted money, especially in a tight financial situation.

What exactly is food mismanagement?

  • Food that is not portioned out to suit the situation – you don’t need super sized meals, hence lots of things up at once.
  • Unplanned meals – when you go shopping, do you have a plan or do you just go grabbing items?
  • Unused food left to spoil or tossed out – allowing food to sit because no one wants to finish it off (this somewhat relates to the first point of improper portion amounts too)
  • Not making the most of food – if you spot things beginning to go bad, or something gets freezer burned, don’t toss it – find an alternative recipe and use it up.

How does this relate to your overall lifestyle and habits?
Mismanagement of one area usually indicates mismanagement in other areas as well. Kind of like people who cannot avoid clutter usually have a hard time keeping appointments or are often behind on bills. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • Is the refrigerator as cluttered as the rest of the house? Can you easily find things?
  • Is the food in a whole lot of little baggies and plastic containers waiting to be taken care of or used? Are bills, payments, receipts all in piles strewn around or are they in a centralized location where you can track them?
  • Do you find yourself thinking that you should really use up those green peppers, and then find them again after they expire? Are your bills left for later only to be found again after they are past due or you get a shut-off notice?

That’s what I mean by food management being tied into how someone manages their lives and their finances. Simple little things are telltale signs of how your overall life is at the moment. They also tell of how you are handling your life. So seriously, go look at your refrigerator and tell me how your overall financial lifestyle is? Are you surprised?

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{ 2 comments }

Felicia March 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Wow, Bill. You’ve got me thinking. I’ve spent a little time reading some of your posts and each one has me doing a bit of self-examination.

I’m glad I happened upon this blog.

Bill March 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Hey Felicia!

I didn’t know you had a blog on finances. Love the name! And yeah, I try to make the goal that has each person reading to look at how they themselves live. Not everyone knows where they may be because they are deep in the middle of it. So I try to put out examples that might provide telltale signs.

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