How do I add an EXTRA shopping week into my food budget?

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I go grocery shopping once a week and do really well staying within our food budget. Every 4 months there is a 5th week and we always go over, here are some
Photo Credit: Kalamajka

I go grocery shopping once a week and do really well staying in budget. But… Every four months, there is a fifth week and I get messed up and always go over… What can I do?

Think about it, there are 4 weeks a year where you need to make that extra grocery trip… if you spend $50 a week on that extra trip, that is $200 a year!  Think of what you could use that money for… debt, loans, savings, food storage… the possibilities are endless!  With just a little extra planning, you can keep that $200 in your pocket for an emergency.

To be honest, this took me a couple of months to figure this out. There are a couple of options I’ve tried and have worked for me.  You can also use these to help you plan for holiday or parties where you will be spending a lot on food.

How to Plan Ahead

Option 1:

Know which month you will have 5 weeks when menu planning. OR an extra shopping trip for Holiday food.  Then, adjust your food budget for five weeks.

Ex:  $200 food budget for the month: Instead of spending $50 a week, like you would for a 4 week month. You would be spending $40 each week.

Option 2:

Spend your usual $50 a week (using the example of budget from above). On the 5th week don’t go shopping. Look in your pantry and use up extra food.  Cook those freezer meals.  OR use the meals you’ve had planned the past few months but never actually made.  (This doesn’t work as well for the extra shopping trips related to parties or big holiday meals.)

Option 3:

Similar to number 2; spend your usual $50 a week (using the example of the food budget from above). On the 5th week don’t go shopping.  BUT THIS time, when you do your monthly menu planning… Plan an extra meal each week to add to your usual weekly food budget.  This allows you to buy all your food for the 5 weeks and the cost meshes in with your other 4 weeks.  Then, when you don’t go shopping the last week, you can use the meals you already planned, and save money.

Read about some cheap meal ideas for a tight budget or rotate your food storage and save money with these 100+ food storage recipes.

 I have tried all three of these, and they work for me!  I usually end up doing a combination of all of them.

What are some ways you have figured out how to keep to your food budget with “long months”?


Further Reading:

What to do when Ends Don’t Meet
10 Ways to Cut your Grocery Bill WITHOUT Coupons
What to do if you go Over Budget

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This post may contain affiliate links.  Read my affiliate link disclosure here

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