I wonder how listening to their “Curbing food insecurity” episode right after this one would hit for you. It was just released on Monday.
Super interesting on this topic- my coworker got a minor in food supply chain and said that across incomes people typically spend 10% of their income on food (from $40k/year or 4K on food to $400k/year or 40k on food, I’m sure this gets out of whack is someone making $4m/year spending 400k on food??)
Their curbing food insecurity episode was mainly focused on discussing the issue of food insecurity and how to reduce your own food waste as a way to improve your food budget. Julien seems very passionate about food insecurity and food waste and I connect with him deeply on this. I loved hearing his passion even if it wasn’t very actionable for personal savings ideas.
For my grocery planning it looks like this:
What food is about to go bad or needs to be used?
What do we want to make?
What do we need in addition to what we have?
What staples are we out of?
Then we add to a shared note that is broken up into lists by store section and store type (Costco vs other).
I am not the best at grocery shopping, we spend quite a bit of money on impulse purchases and don’t always stick to the list. I’ve had a lot of food anxiety post covid so tend to stock up on things we don’t need. On the other hand we seldom throw away food so I know we are using everything we buy which is one consolation prize.
We have made some “clean out the fridge” meals that Mr. ninja said “well it’s not culinary perfection, but it will make a poop”
This is such a hard topic to address broadly because every family’s circumstance for reducing food costs will differ based on abilities, preferences, and current habits. If you have the confidence and ability to cook, using base ingredients and cooking from scratch will be faster, tastier, and more enjoyable. For those with very specific preferences or dietary needs the ideas for reducing costs will be more limited. I would love to do “money diaries” or “case studies” for people in their cooking lives to improve the quality and cost of their food, but I’m just a huge nerd who loves food, cooking, and money, lol.
Fun unrelated personal story: I’ve had a few weekends with very limited cooking time. I made an MS project Gantt chart with each cooking tool as a “resource” to optimize the cooking effort and time. The resources were oven, instant pot, stove top, chopping/ingredient prep, microwave, and assembly. I made 4-5 recipes and started with what would take the longest. It was perfection.