What Is a Food Budget?

A food budget refers to the official document you use to organize your grocery or food expenses in a detailed plan. Just like a food plan, food budgeting enables you to list down the grocery items to buy, their possible prices, and the schedule of how to manage food on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. And the food budget can either be a personal document—for you and your family’s food expenses or a professional document—for food expenses in running a restaurant, wedding, or any event.

Based on a report, food budgeting usually averages around $250 for every adult and at least $150 per child monthly.

Also, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average cost of groceries in American households was about $4,643 in 2019.

Why Should You Have a Food Budget?

It is a no-brainer that food is a basic need. But in reality, food can be pretty expensive. Based on a survey, American households spent an average cost of $4,643 for groceries in 2019. So one day, your refrigerator and food inventory might be filled with blessings to last for the week. Then a week later, it would be scary not to have any food left, especially with a limited amount of money. Hence, it only makes sense to be wise with your money spent on food unless you get free food per day. And this is where the food budget stays relevant—your official planner in ensuring you have enough food for your family or business every single day.

Also, a food budget can be used for different purposes. While it is common for people to set up a food budget for their personal grocery shopping, you could also set up the food budget for a college student, a wedding, a birthday party, a restaurant, or a business event. Thus, you can’t use the same food budget plan for all functions. It has to be personalized and streamlined according to your purpose so you can depend on it. And with a reliable food budget on hand, you won’t have to suffer from hunger or increasing debts.

What Are the Elements Inside a Standard Food Budget?

While every person’s food budget varies, it doesn’t mean that there is no similar factor to every example as well. A food budget also has a common structure and it consists of the following elements:

Subject Title: A straightforward title sets the introductory statement of your food budget. Ensure that your worksheet or document has the words ‘food budget’ written on the title since that automatically defines what your document is wholly about. Without a proper title, it would still take time to read all the details in the document before figuring out what it is.Statement of Purpose: The next concern is the statement of purpose. This is your chance to clarify what the food budget is specifically for. Is it for a business conference, school, anniversary party, or for you personally? Whatever your purpose is, explain it briefly. This is helpful in case someone finds your food budget sheet and wants to know its main function.Dates: Yes, a food budget naturally concerns the food and the budget. But you can’t forget about the time and date. You deserve a visual schedule to be clear on when to buy the groceries. You need to set a timeline on when to get every food item on the list so it won’t remain as a plan only. The dates also give you a deadline of when to prepare for the food items so you must stay on schedule.Food Categories: Another common element is the food category section. Just like in buying groceries, the food items are divided into categories. This is for convenience when you need to track specific items per category. So before you divide your budget, be sure to identify the different food categories relevant to your needed items. Examples of categories are drinks, bread, meat, sweets, and ready meals.Names of Specific Food Items: Now for the real deal, begin listing specific food items after making the food categories. It works just like a grocery list where you name the product and even the brand name if you wish to be more specific. The good thing about specific products is you won’t have to second-guess yourself upon buying those items in stores.Quantities: Also an important detail is the quantity section. Otherwise, you might think you literally need one egg to purchase when the instruction is actually one rack of eggs. This leads back to the importance of being specific so that you are sure of the number of food items needed to prepare. The same goes for the measurements of some liquid items needed.Prices: The food budget wouldn’t be complete without the price list. This part is the meat of the food budget because you need to divide your money that can meet all the prices enlisted there. For starters, you can categorize the price per item and the sum. Don’t forget to note how much money you allocated specifically for the food budget first until you begin breaking it down to the food items’ prices in the worksheet. Also, be realistic with the budget according to how much you earn from your job and what other resources you have.Where to Buy: It is critical to note where you plan on buying everything you listed. It could be from the grocery store, fast-food chain, coffee shop, or home delivery. This is also for your convenience in knowing what is available per option and that you won’t waste time looking for your food items. You can even be more specific by writing down the exact addresses. And that helps when you plan to show the food budget to someone else and give specific instructions.Extra Notes: Leave a free space for possible notes at the end of your food budget worksheet. Use that space for extra notes as you might need it for various reasons. For example, you can use that space as a budget calculator where you calculate how you divided the expenses in the first place. Or perhaps, that is where you jot down possible changes to your food budget plan so you won’t forget them.

How to Create a Wise Food Budget

Now for the real question, how do you make a decent food budget? After everything discussed earlier, surely your goal is now headed in a clearer direction. In fact, making a food budget isn’t that difficult with sample templates available to guide you every step of the way. And for an even easier way of perfecting it, don’t forget to apply these crucial steps:

Step 1: Assess Your Goals and Purpose First

The first step is the most important one where it involves a lot of planning. Surely, you must have decided a purpose in making a food budget in the first place. Do you need the food budget for a food contract proposal, a wedding reception, a student budget, or maybe a formal event? Stick to that purpose until you can come up with clear goals. Take a restaurant food budget, for example. You can already think of the possible goals with that purpose from budgeting the ingredients needed, deciding the prices of meals to sell, calculating the profits, etc.

Step 2: Use a Sample Food Budget

The most convenient approach to make a food budget shortly is to use from any sample food budget, as seen from the enlisted templates above this article. Explore every sample until you can decide your most preferred version to work with. And once you have a template, you only need to work on the finishing details rather than starting from the very beginning. In fact, you can always edit the format, content, and design of the template so you need not stick to its generic versions.

Step 3: Start Identifying Your Food Budget’s Elements

From the subject title down to the extra notes, you already know that there are several elements to complete a food budget. So make sure you got every essential detail intact to your proposed food budget. Besides the examples listed earlier, you can even insert other elements which you think are relevant to your purpose. What matters most is that you have categorized the data thoroughly by dividing them into their elements. Think of an organizational chart or a tabular food budget where there are labels and categories to organize all information.

Step 4: Be Realistic with the Figures

A big mistake done by most people is to plan a food budget that is very out of touch. An example is when you come up with a business proposal that discusses $1 million of food expenses. Yet, the reality is that the people working with this idea hardly even have decent monthly payments. Or perhaps, there weren’t enough resources to pay for a million dollars. Thus, take a reality check too by researching the current prices of food products, considering your monthly allowance, and other essential factors.

Step 5: Discuss the Final Look of the Document

Once you are nearly finished, ensure that you have corrected everything to create an error-free document in the long run. And most importantly, finalize the document’s output. Should your food budget be a digital copy in PDF or MS Word? Or do you want it printed instead? Whether your food budget is a personal or business document, what matters most is you chose a version you find most appropriate and convenient. Nobody wants to depend on a hard-to-follow document anyway. Thus, you should be alright with its results.


What are some tips to save on a food budget?

Some helpful recommendations to save on a food budget are:

  • Focus on your needs, not wants; avoid impulse buying.
  • Search for affordable food items if you are on a tight budget.
  • Follow the 50/30/20 rule in shopping for food.
  • Prevent dining in at a restaurant daily and cook your own food instead.
  • Go for unprocessed foods as they are usually healthy and affordable.
  • Set a strict food budget amount where you can’t simply go over the limit.
  • Watch out for monthly deals and sales in stores.

What is the 50/30/20 rule?

In budgeting, the 50/30/20 rule is a strategic plan on how to save money according to your income and expenses. So in food budgeting, you should allocate your money of at least 50% to your needs, 30% to your wants, and 20% for savings or paying debts.

What is a good grocery budget for two people?

For couples or partners, a decent food budget would be $402.20 a month. But if you aren’t that thrifty, you can plan on $798.70 instead. That is according to Lifehacker.

Saving time, mastering the art of budgeting, navigating grocery store aisles smoothly, and prioritizing healthy and essential foods are just some of the many benefits you can acquire from preparing a food budget. But, those benefits would only remain a dream if you don’t put enough effort into making a well-thought-out food budget worksheet. Thankfully, the sample food budget templates listed in this post have got you covered in creating streamlined and professionally made food budget documents easily. Start budgeting now!