This exercise can be fun, and may be surprising. Ask everyone in your family to track their food expenses for a month using the printable chart. Each time you spend money on food anywhere, write your initials on the back of the receipt and put it in a jar. If you don’t have a receipt, make a note including what was bought, who bought it, and how much it cost.

Start by downloading the Tracking Food Expenses worksheet.

Think about where you buy food: grocery store, restaurants, school lunch, the soda machine at work, popcorn at the movies, coffee shop, bottled water at the convenience store, etc.

At the end of the month, spread out all the receipts/notes, put them in stacks by location, and enter the prices into your chart. Add up the totals and look at how much you spent at each location.

  • Does anything surprise you?
  • Do you eat out more than you expected?
  • Can you find less expensive places to eat out?
  • Can you share dinners with friends or have potlucks instead of eating out?
  • Do you need to learn new skills or find new recipes to make eating at home more fun?
  • Can you bring more food from home instead of buying it away from home?

It is OK to start small and make one change each month. In time, the change will add up to big savings.