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How To Create a Grocery Budget

How To Create a Grocery Budget

A man and his daughter reach for apples in the produce section of a grocery store.

Whether you live alone or have to feed a full family, grocery shopping can take up a lot of time—and money. While we all try our best to spend our money wisely, it can be hard to actually make a dent in your monthly expenses. And as food prices continue to rise with inflation, keeping track of how much you’re spending has become quite the challenge.

Thankfully, there are some ways you can save money on groceries without drastically changing your habits. Creating a grocery budget can go a long way, as it allows you to allocate a specific amount for your food expenses, prevent overspending on unnecessary items, and encourages mindful spending. It will also help you prioritize essential and high-quality foods over purchases you may regret.

Keep reading to learn more about how to create a grocery budget and other grocery shopping tips.

Examine Your Spending Habits

You should begin by getting a clear picture of your current spending habits and financial situation. List out all of your current monthly expenses, including rent/mortgage, utilities, entertainment, and more. If you commute to work, estimate the average cost of gas, parking, tolls, and any other fees that stack up. You should also look at how often you eat out or order delivery, as cooking at home is almost always a much cheaper option.

Track Your Expenses

After accounting for all of your non-grocery expenses, track how much you’ve recently been spending on groceries. Check receipts and online bank statements to get an idea of where your money is going and identify potential times in which you could have cut back or overspent. Continuing to track your grocery expenses is crucial for financial success, as it helps you make informed decisions about how to adjust your budget to set yourself up for future savings.

Set A Realistic Goal

When deciding how much to spend on groceries per month, the most important thing to remember is to be realistic. You may not receive massive savings right out of the gate, but if you stay committed to your budget, it will pay dividends down the road. According to the USDA, the average American spends around $220-$300 per month on groceries, though that can fluctuate depending on your individual situation. Look at your spending habits and set an attainable amount you can try to save as you begin in order to build up some positive momentum.

An elderly woman looks at her receipt at the grocery store.

Prioritize Essential Items

A simple way to save money on groceries is to prioritize items that are necessary for your daily life. Make a list of everything that you need for a week or two and make sure to stick to it when you go to the store. This might include staples like bread and milk, fresh produce and meat, and other necessities like toiletries or cleaning supplies. Avoid impulse buying things like snacks and sodas and focus on the items that you need. This will ensure that you’re buying and consuming items that are essential and beneficial, saving you money on frivolous purchases.

Make a Menu

Between saving you money and helping you eat healthier, meal planning can be helpful for many people. Create a list of meals that you want to have throughout the upcoming week and all of the ingredients you will need to make them. Whether you want to prep everything in advance for easy grab-and-go meals or cook everything fresh, this will help you avoid wasteful purchases and only buy what you need. You can also freeze or refrigerate leftovers for additional savings, depending on what you make.

Shop Smarter, Not Harder

Comparison shopping for groceries is a savvy way to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Regularly check the price of products you frequently buy at different stores or online to find the most cost-effective place to shop. You can also explore rewards programs and other coupon initiatives in your area. This not only can help you save money but also will allow you to discover new stores or brands that offer better deals.

Save Money by Making a Grocery Budget Today

Creating a budget for groceries is an easy and powerful way to better utilize your money, both in the short term and long term. Whether you constantly eat out or are looking for ways to save a few bucks, budgeting is the best way to make sure you are spending wisely. It doesn’t take a lot of time to come up with a budget either; all it takes is some effort into examining your spending habits, prioritizing essential and well-priced items, and creating meal plans you can plan out in advance. As long as you stay committed, you’ll notice the savings start to grow in no time!

If you’re ready to partner with a bank that has your wallet in mind, contact Landmark National Bank today or find a bank branch near you.

What Is Inflation, and What Causes It?

What Is Inflation, and What Causes It?

A man holds open his wallet, showing a bunch of $1 bills and a single $10 bill inside.

The word “inflation” is frequently mentioned in financial discussions, but what does it truly mean? In what ways does it influence the economy and our daily lives? As a knowledgeable consumer and investor, understanding inflation and its impacts is key to ensuring you make smart decisions about your monetary matters.

Inflation might seem difficult to understand, but it’s actually not all that complicated. In fact, you can actually see the causes of inflation in all sorts of areas, from news and politics to supply and demand and even the latest market trends. Getting a grasp of how all of these factors and more work can help you anticipate future developments and make sure you’re adequately prepared.

Landmark National Bank is here to help you learn more about the effects of inflation and how you can best manage your money in response to constantly changing trends. Our friendly team of financial experts has the tools and expertise necessary to navigate inflation and many other issues you may encounter. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of inflation and other financial tips.

What is Inflation?

Inflation is an economic phenomenon characterized by the gradual rise in the prices of goods and services. Essentially, it implies that the purchasing power of your money diminishes as time goes on. And as inflation rates continue to rise, each passing year further erodes the value of your investments, savings, and spending cash.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a key tool used to measure inflation. It tracks the average change over time in the prices paid by consumers for standard goods and services, including everyday items like food, housing, healthcare, and transportation. By monitoring these prices, the CPI reflects how much purchasing power your money has lost due to the increase in prices. This makes the CPI a strong indicator of the economic health of a nation.

A middle-aged couple sits and looks over their finances together.

Impact of Inflation

Inflation can have both positive and negative effects on the economy and our everyday lives. On the positive side, a moderate level of inflation (around 2-3% per year) can stimulate economic growth by boosting consumer spending and encouraging business investment. It can also help reduce debt burdens, as the value of the debt decreases over time.

However, high and unpredictable inflation can be harmful to the economy and consumers. It can lead to a decline in the purchasing power of money, leading to higher prices and lower real incomes. It can also create uncertainty and discourage investment, as businesses may be unsure about the future value of money. Inflation can also hurt retirees and savers who depend on fixed-income investments, as their purchasing power decreases over time.

What Causes Inflation?

Inflation is typically caused by an increase in the supply of money or a decrease in the supply of goods. When the amount of money in an economy exceeds the amount of goods and services available, prices rise. This can happen for many reasons, including:

More money coming in: When the U.S. Federal Reserve puts more money into circulation or lowers interest rates, it can increase the money supply in the economy, leading to higher demand for goods and services and higher prices.

Demand-pull inflation: When demand for goods and services exceeds the supply, producers must find ways to keep up. Most of the time, this is done by raising prices.

Cost-push inflation: Whether it’s wages, raw materials, or logistics and transportation, the cost of producing goods and services can often go up. As a result, companies must raise customer costs to accommodate.

Expectations: If people expect prices to go up in the future, they may speculate on stocks, demand higher wages, or even hoard goods, which can all lead to higher prices.

Two people look over financial statements and documents together.

How to Fight Inflation

To effectively manage inflation, governments and central banks utilize two fundamental tools: monetary policy and fiscal policy.

Monetary policy encompasses a range of actions undertaken by the central bank to regulate the money supply and manipulate interest rates. For instance, when confronted with high inflation, the central bank may proactively raise interest rates as a means of curbing the money supply and consequently reducing the overall demand for goods and services within the economy.

On the other hand, fiscal policy revolves around the government’s decisions relating to public spending and taxation. For example, during periods of elevated inflation, the government may opt to tighten its belt by implementing spending cuts or imposing higher taxes. These measures aim to restrict the demand for goods and services, thereby mitigating inflationary pressures on the economy.

If you’re wondering how to fight inflation as a consumer, there are some things you can do. Investors must understand the smartest ways to optimize their decision-making to respond to changing trends. Assets like stocks and real estate may offer protection against inflation, as they tend to appreciate over time. Conversely, fixed-income investments such as bonds can lose value in an inflationary environment. Being well-informed about inflation helps set you up for strategic action regarding saving, spending, and investing, ultimately improving your financial health.

By wisely using these tools, both you and governments and central banks alike can effectively fight inflation and help maintain economic stability and prosperity.

Stay Up-to-Date on Inflation

Keeping yourself updated on inflation trends is vital for managing your personal finances and investments. Regularly checking the CPI and reliable financial news sources is one of the most effective ways to keep track of inflation trends. Many financial news websites and publications provide updates on inflation rates, as well as expert analysis of what these figures mean for the economy. Subscribing to reliable newsletters and podcasts can also be beneficial, as these often include detailed reports, analyses, and forecasts about inflation.

Get Expert Financial Advice from Landmark National Bank

Inflation is a complex topic, but understanding its impacts on the economy and our everyday lives is essential for making sound financial decisions now and in the future. By being informed and proactive with your spending, savings, and other money management, you can mitigate the effects of inflation on your personal finances and investments.

At Landmark National Bank, we’re committed to helping our customers navigate the effects of inflation and any other financial issues they may face. We offer smart, practical financial advice that can help you achieve all of your immediate and long-term goals. Between battling inflation, managing your savings, or planning for retirement, we’re here to help! Give us a call or contact us online to get started today.

4 Tips for Budgeting in Times of Inflation

a calculator that spells “inflation” on it sits on top of a pile of money

Tips For Budgeting in Times of Inflation

As inflation rises in the United States, it’s hitting every part of our expenses, from everyday household goods and groceries to recurring bills. For an individual or a family in Kansas, it can be difficult to make ends meet as our budgets are stretched tighter and tighter.

While it can be discouraging and stressful to coordinate your finances, it’s not impossible. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips for budgeting during times of inflation.

1. Review Your Spending

While we notice inflation hitting our pockets, we might not always know where it’s hitting. If you haven’t already, create a budget to track your spending. Notice where your budget is hardest to control, categorize essentials and nonessentials, and identify areas of overspending. Both our online banking and mobile banking platforms have spending trackers to give you a clearer picture of where your money goes.

Then, evaluate your financial goals and how your budget is aligning with them. If you had planned to make a large purchase soon, look at how you can time that purchase with your other bills and expenses.

2. Find Ways to Save

Now that you’re more familiar with your exact spending, identify areas where you could potentially be savvier with your budget. Some examples would be:

  • Opt for the cheaper version of a product
  • Combine trips and reduce your travel
  • Monitor your utilities to prevent frivolous usage
  • Look at getting cheaper options at restaurants or coffee shops
  • Switch to less expensive packages for recurring bills

3. Cut Non-Essential Expenses

We can get used to certain accommodations, but there may be times when we need to think more intentionally about what matters in our budget.

Weigh the importance of various recreational, entertainment, and dining purchases in your day-to-day life. You can still enjoy non-essential spending, but prioritize what you’re spending money on. For example, while you may decide to cut your regular weekly lunches out, you could still keep your favorite streaming services.

4. Increase Your Income

Maybe easier said than done, but a good side hustle can help significantly to maintain your standard of living in times of inflation. This could mean picking up some extra hours at work, freelancing with some of your professional skills, or other local opportunities.

Depending on your location, you may be able to find places to watch someone’s dog or home on their vacation, make food deliveries in your free time, or a myriad of other possibilities.

Shore up Your Budget with Help from Landmark National Bank

Budgeting finances during times of inflation can feel like an uphill battle. Whether interest rates go up or down, trust your finances with Landmark National Bank — backed by Bauer Financial’s highest 5-Star rating for financial strength and stability.

With our dedicated and friendly team, we provide high-quality banking services throughout Kansas for both personal and business use. Learn more about our services and find a Landmark National Bank branch location near you today!