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Food Resource Management
By choosing to complete this mail lesson, you have taken the first step in learning more about the importance of nutrition and its relationship to good health. By budgeting your food dollars you can provide healthy foods for your family throughout the whole month. This lesson will teach you how to do that.
To complete this lesson:
- Carefully read this lesson. It should take about 15-20 minutes to complete.
- Answer the questions at the end of the lesson.
- When you are finished, place the questions in the prepaid envelope and place the envelope in the mail.
This mail lesson discusses how to develop a budget.
- Developing a budget can help you make your money and food last until the end of the month.
- The "envelope method" is a simple way to manage your money during the month.
- Most families have budget problems from time to time. Planning your budget and following it takes practice.
- It is easier to follow a budget when all family members are involved.
Food Resource Management… what does that mean?
The term food resource management means using your food dollars wisely, so you can provide healthy food for your family for the entire month.
Making Ends Meet
Do you run out of money or food before the end of the month? Most of us do once in a while. If this happens to you a lot, you might need to change the way you spend money. A budget can help you change how you spend money.
Developing a budget is important for all families regardless of income!
Most families have a fixed amount of resources to get them through a month. These resources are called income and can include actual cash in salary or wages, Food Stamps, WIC coupons, and other sources of money. We all want our income to be greater than our expenses. Developing a budget can help you reach this goal.
What is a budget?
A budget is a written plan that shows how you need or want to spend your money. A budget will help you pay bills on time, cut out spending that leads to debt, and pay off current debt. Sticking to a budget can help you identify the amount of money available each month for food and supplies for your family.
A budget should be somewhat flexible. It should help you meet fixed expenses and flexible expenses.
What are fixed expenses?
Fixed expenses must be paid and change little from one month to the next. They include:
- housing costs (rent)
- loan payments
What are flexible expenses?
Flexible expenses change with the decisions we make regarding our needs and wants. They include:
Let’s Get Started Creating a Budget Just for You and Your Family
Before you make a budget, you need to know how the money you earn is spent. There are three kinds of expenses:
- Needs = things a family must have to survive such as food, shelter and clothing.
- Wants = things a family would like to have, but not having them would not result in serious harm, such as new clothes, a new car, eating out, vacations, or cable television.
- Commitments = something that you have bought and are committed to paying over time. For example, a washing machine bought on an installment plan or a car payment. Individually, these expenses may seem small but when you have several monthly commitments, they add up. They take a large part of your monthly income.
Developing a Spending Plan that Works for You and Your Family.
Deciding how to spend your money can be very challenging. Use the following steps to help identify how much money is coming into your household and how much is being spent.
- Write down what income you have available. You will need copies of paycheck stubs, food stamp allotments, etc. Use the “Budget Form” found at the end of this lesson.
- Develop a budget.
- Make your budget fit your paycheck. Look at the amount you listed in each of the expense categories. Ask: “What do I need to pay for first?” Priorities should be rent, utilities, expenses for getting to work (gas, car insurance, public transportation), and food for your family.
- If you have credit card debt, pay off the ones with the highest interest rate first. If possible, pay more than the minimum payment.
- For items that are due once a year, such as taxes and car license, divide that amount by 12, and set aside that amount each month in a savings account. You can use the same strategy for gifts or trips. This is called “forward planning.”
- Establish a way for recording income and expenses. The simplest system uses a calendar.
- On the monthly calendar, record any income expected on the date it will available.
- Then, record the amounts of all bills due on the date they must be paid.
- Compare income available to the bills that are due.
- Evaluate. Each month look to see what worked and what did not. Always ask: “What do I need to do to make things work better?” Then make those necessary changes.
The Envelope Method
The envelope method is another simple way to budget.
Here is how!
After you have paid your fixed expenses at the beginning of each month, decide how you will spend the rest of the money. Make an envelope for each of your expenses and mark it
Put the money or resources you have planned for that purpose in each envelope.
When the envelope is empty, you have no more money for that until next month. If family members want new jeans and you are out of money in the clothing envelope you can clearly show why they will have to wait until next month or save the money themselves.
One concern is that you might spend all of your resources in the first two weeks of the month. This can be a real problem, especially with food resources. Four food envelopes, or one for each week, might be a good solution to this problem.
Planning Takes Practice
Most families have budget problems from time to time. Planning will help you through the difficult times. It takes practice and a great deal of patience.
Money is something everyone in your household needs to learn about.
Let everyone get involved in goal setting and planning the budget.
It is easier to follow your budget and reach your goals when everyone participates.
***Please see budget form at the end of this lesson.
Tips to stretch your food dollars
Compare unit prices. The unit price is the price per pound or ounce. Most stores have unit price labels on the shelf. Usually, the large container will have the best unit price. But if it spoils before it is used you will not save any money. Individually packaged foods usually cost more per ounce. Buy the size that fits your budget and your meal plan.
Pay Check $_____________
SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) ______________
Other (WIC, SSI, child support, disability income) ______________
Rent or house payment $______________
Trash pickup ______________
Car payment ______________
Car insurance ______________
Food (groceries, restaurants) ______________
Household items (toilet paper and cleaning supplies) ______________
Cable television ______________
Cell phone ______________
Church, charities and gifts ______________
Personal care (haircuts, toothpaste, etc) ______________
Debt (credit card payments, unpaid bills) ______________
Other expenses ______________
Total INCOME minus Total EXPENSES = $______________