Grocery shopping can be daunting, especially when you’re trying to stick to a budget. $100 sounds like a realistic budget for a week’s worth of food, right? But, once you make your list, head to the store, shop around, pick up a few things that “aren’t on your list” and load your purchases onto the cashier table you’re stunned that your money didn’t go as far as you hoped!
Food is more expensive than ever, and it’s hard to feed a house full of people on a tight budget. How can you stick to $100 for the week? It can be done if you follow these tips!
Make a list, check it twice…!
The number one way to save at the grocery store is to THINK AHEAD. Plan your meals for the rest of the week on Saturday or Sunday. For example, Monday will be spaghetti, Tuesday will be quesadillas, etc. Then make a list of ingredients and let this serve as your shopping list! But, don’t forget to check the pantry and refrigerator before you go to see what you already have. This process might be hard at first, but it will help you focus your trips to the grocery store.
My family used to have a set meal for every day of the week, and we’d repeat this rotation for 4 weeks. Then we’d come up with a new weekly menu. We saved a ton of money by having a food agenda that stayed the same, and it helped us stick to our budget! While this may be too extreme for your busy life, if you plan meals ahead you’ll save.
Make couponing your new hobby
Become best friends with the Sunday morning paper and clip coupons. Last week I shopped at my local grocery store and saved $30 just by using coupons and having a store rewards card (it’s free to sign up!). But, make sure you understand coupon restrictions. Don’t automatically assume that “Buy 2, get the 3rd half off” is a good deal, and don’t buy more than you have to (and spend more!) just to save $1.
**TIP: Split shopping between stores. ShopRite may be having their “Can Can” sale and Giant might have their extra $.30 off per gallon coupon when you spend $50. You’ll begin to realize what grocery store has better sales for certain brands, and you can plan shopping trips according to sales.
Leave room for impulse buys
like chocolate, or donuts, or that new shampoo you’ve been dying to try. Let’s be honest, if you see a good sale on something you have been craving, there isn’t much that’s going to keep you from purchasing it, so make room for that in your budget.
Other ways to save include searching “budget” meals online and try cooking something new! There’s many budget-friendly chefs that blog online, so start doing some research. Spaghetti is a great budget meal, as well as soups…why not do a Google search for variations of your favorite soup recipe? And don’t skimp on protein! Although meat can be expensive, ground beef and chicken are cheaper options that can make healthy, delicious meals!
Grocery shopping on a budget takes time and some planning, so if you’re determined to save you have to put in a little effort! And remember, bring your own bags when you head to the grocery store. Help the environment and you could save money (many stores give you a discount depending on how many bags you bring)!
– Guest Blogger: Tara Chila for TheMomsBuzz.com
Tara Chila, blogger for Transit Systems, Inc., writes mostly about moving, business, house & home, kids, and parenting. Transit Systems specializes in a variety of long distance moving and shipping services including furniture shipping, antiques and college moves.