Have you ever looked at your budget at the end of the month and wondered where the heck you overspent a little bit without realizing it? New research shows that one of the most relevant contributors to this factor may be the time you spend eating at restaurants and other away-from home sources of food.

According to the Canada Food Price Report edition of 2018, the annual food expenditure for a family of four is expected to rise by $348 to a total of $11,948. Of this amount, The average home is expected to spend almost 30% of its food budget in restaurant food service, the highest level in history and a gain of 8% year-over-year – greater than the expected rise of four to six percent. This ends up representing an increased spend of $208 per year on restaurant meals for the average Canadian family. Does your budget have room for such an increase? You may be surprised to find out how much cutting back on trips to eat out may affect the way you plan financially.

Cutting back on restaurant meals may be one of the oldest pieces of advice given to those looking to find more room in their day-to-day budgets. However, increases in the annual amount you and your family spend on food are not caused exclusively by restaurant visits. Other factors, such as the climatic conditions which impact the growth and yield of crops, have pushed prices of some food items higher at grocery stores around the country. Labour conditions and supply chain management changes have also contributed to jumps in your bill at the grocery till.

Despite noting this, the Food Price Report attributes increased restaurant spending to the majority (59%) of the overall increase in spending on food by Canadians. The cost of food purchased at restaurants rose by 2.7% over the last year. This is almost double the rise in food prices at retail.

The Report also notes the impact of recent industry changes within the Canadian food and grocery market, such as the purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon, as potential threats to the security of food retail businesses in Canada. This threat is typified by consumers’ tendency to value greater convenience and accessibility over lower price – another reason why restaurant spending is growing at such a rapid rate.

There are thousands of resources available for those looking to optimize their time, dietary health, and expenditure when it comes to food. Making the changes you need to adjust away from the convenience-forward, restaurant driven model may take some time and effort, but it could be well worth it in the long run if the trends highlighted by this new Report are poised to continue.

Tags : advicefinancefinancial planningmoney savingpersonal financeplanningsaving moneyspendingstrategiestips