A Simple Way to Reduce Your Spending on Food

For Day 21 of 31 Days to a Better Bank Balance, we’re going to talk about one method for reducing your food-related spending.

(And if you’re happy with your current spending on food but want to reduce spending on something else, you can use this method too.)

So, remember the reduced-food-spending number that you committed to on Day 20? It’s time to divide it into two parts:

1. The amount you want to spend on meals out for the next 30 days
2. The amount you want to spend on groceries for the next 30 days

Once you have those two amounts, use the envelope method to limit your food-related spending to the set amounts for each category of food spending.

The envelope method is where you place the amount of money you want to spend on a particular category in appropriately-labeled envelopes (in this case “eating out” and “groceries”) and then you only use money from those envelopes to make those specific purchases. When the money’s gone, it’s gone.

You can break it down by pay period if you like (and I would, if it were me). So if you get paid twice a month and the amount you want to spend on eating out is $200, place $100 in the envelope each time you get paid. Or you can put the whole amount in the envelope at the beginning of the month and make it last.

This can be either a literal envelope method, where you spend cash from a real envelope until it’s gone for the month, or a virtual envelope method, where you start out with say, $500 for groceries written down, and then subtract the amount you spend during each grocery trip from that $500. When you get to zero, no more groceries until the 30 days are up.

Only you know which method would work best for you. Both methods require a little planning ahead though, which coincidentally usually helps reduce spending in and of itself.


  • Another way to save money when it comes to food is to think about foods “end of life” cycle aka garbage. If you can compost a lot of food waste, you can save money by having a smaller garbage bill.

  • That’s an excellent point.

  • You could also simply eliminate some food groups from your life. I say that a little facetiously, but what helped me was eliminating soft drinks, junk foods, and a lot of pre-packages processedf oods.

    Cooking at home generally saves you money,and I was able to kill two birds with one stome with this project (saved money, lost weight)