Keep Your Grocery Spending Under Control
Aside from your mortgage, your biggest monthly expense is likely groceries. And unlike your mortgage, your car payment and most of the rest of your bills you actually have some control over your grocery spending.
Make A Grocery Budget
Start by tracking how much you’re spending on groceries for a few weeks. From there, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. Allot that money for groceries and whatever you do don’t go over.
Next, try cutting back your budget by $20 per month. Keep going and see how low you can go. The remaining tips will help you do that without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
There was an interesting blog post I came across that really got my wheels turning. The Non-Consumer Advocate put together a Food Stamp Challenge that motivated me. Interestingly enough, my grocery spending is LESS than what a family of 3 gets a month on food stamps! My grocery spending is around $250 -$300 a month for two of us plus TJ (who doesn’t eat as much… yet!).
If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself, I highly recommend giving this challenge a try!
Keep A Price Book
Who doesn’t love a bargain or a good deal? They are all over the store, but do you know if what they advertise as a good deal is actually saving you money?
Keep a little notebook in your purse or keep a text document on your phone with the regular prices of the items you buy most often. Not only can you see if that “deal” really is a deal, you can also determine what kitchen staple is cheapest where and adjust your shopping accordingly.
I’ve become accustomed to purchasing my groceries at the same stores so I don’t need to look at my price book anymore. I also never use coupons because most coupons are for heavily processed foods which I do my best to steer clear of.
I buy the bulk of my food from Aldi (seriously, amazing!) and the rest I fill in with Harris Teeter. Now that we’re changing our diet to more plant-based, I’m planning on doing more of my shopping at Farmer’s Markets and Costco.
Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes
You don’t have to make drastic changes and eat nothing but rice and beans all week. Instead, think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys. They may be rice and beans. Or how about a big pot of soup or chili. Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet or use meat in small portions on frugal dish days.
Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month combined with using up any and all leftovers will make a big difference in your grocery budget. Meal Planning is a great way to keep track of your meals and what to buy at the store.
Cut Out The Extras
Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. All those little extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the candy you grabbed at checkout start to add up. Get in the habit of skipping those extras unless there’s a good reason to buy them. Stick to your list and you’ll cut your grocery bill by quite a bit each week.
Another way to keep track of your grocery spending is using cash. I can talk all day long about how cash has revolutionized our budget and spending. It was very hard to do at first, but now it’s a habit. When you get to a point where you aren’t tempted to swipe your card for anything and everything, you can start using your card again. However, I find I still spend more than I mean to when I use my card so I stick to cash!
Give these tips a try and see if you don’t start to see big savings on a weekly basis. What you do with all the extra money each month is up to you. Save up for a fun summer vacation, pay off those credit cards or start building your financial safety net.