A social group's time budget is an emergent property of individual-level decisions about how to allocate time. One fundamental determinant of these time allocation decisions is foraging success. Yet while there is a growing appreciation of how social animals optimize their foraging behaviour, our understanding of the mechanisms that link this behaviour with individual time use, and thus group-level time budgets, is relatively poor. In this review, we explore the current understanding of social foraging behaviour and time budgets at the individual level and emergent group-level time budgets. We highlight how research into individual-level differences in time budgets is comparably limited. We then explore how individual-based mechanistic modelling may provide a useful tool for elucidating how social foraging behaviour drives individual time budget patterns, and how these patterns in turn give rise to group-level time budgets. An improved understanding of the links between these three phenomena will not only allow us to address more challenging evolutionary questions, but also enable us to better predict and manage the impacts of a changing environment on social animals in the future.