It’s super honesty time: I suck at keeping a budget. It used to be easy for me when my husband was making less money. You can’t spend what isn’t there, right? Well, when he moved to a better position with better pay, we let ourselves enjoy things that we couldn’t before. As much as I enjoyed the regular date nights and having him stop for dinner somewhere on the way home so I didn’t have to cook, I started to really hate seeing all that money seep from our account. I decided to start sticking to a budget and I’m here to help you do the same! These simple steps and changes have really changed the way I spend my grocery money, how I meal plan and how I approach grocery shopping!
1. Don’t shop hungry!
Yup, I’m going there. This bit of advice has been floating around for years but it is definitely one to take to heart. When you go to the grocery store satisfied, you’re less likely to follow through with spontaneous cravings for chips and cookies. There has been a noticeable difference in our spending since we’ve started making it a point to eat before we leave the house.
2. Shop Your Stash!
I kid you not, one week a couple months ago I was able to spend $25 on groceries for the whole week because I put together a lot of meals with ingredients I already had. When you don’t shop your stash, you run the risk of having multiples, spending money you didn’t have to and letting good food expire. One site that is invaluable to me is supercook.com. You can add every ingredient you have in your kitchen and it will search through its recipes for what you can make with things you already have on hand!
3. Stretch Your Meat!
I did a post on this last week and I can’t stress how much money it will save you if you can make 1 pound of beef stretch for 2 or maybe even 3 meals, depending on your method. For full instructions: How To Stretch Ground Beef
4. Meat Substitutes!
I don’t mean tofu – I mean beans and mushrooms. I add beans to my beef dishes and mushrooms to my chicken dishes whenever possible to stretch them even farther.
5. Meal Planning!
This one is obvious but worth mentioning. Walking in to the grocery store without a meal plan is like going on a road trip without a map. Some weeks I don’t bother meal planning until Friday not, other weeks I’m diligently working on it every day. The key to meal planning to give yourself some variety; try not to stick to the same meals. Branch out and make it interesting.
6. Once Is Enough!
Limiting yourself to one trip a week will save you money on gas, force you to think about what you truly need for a week, and did I mention save you money on gas?
7. Frozen Vegetable Packets!
My friend Jazmin over at Frugality Gal actually turned me on to this. She washes, cuts and freezes her vegetables so that they’re ready to throw into the pan whenever she needs them. Taking an afternoon to prep your vegetables like this can save you time later in the week. Plus, how many times have you gotten fresh veggies and had them go rotten before you got to use them? For full instructions: DIY Frozen Vegetable Packets
8. Circular Shopping!
Planning your meals around what is on sale in the circular can be difficult but a lot of times it is definitely doable. One of our stores has a weekly Meal Deal where you get all of the ingredients for one meal for $7.99. Sometimes it’s a deal and sometimes it isn’t. One week the Meal Deal was fajitas and the Perdue Shortcuts chicken they included normally retailed for $5.99. So getting the chicken, tortillas, cheese and sour cream for $7.99 was a steal!
I know my methods aren’t revolutionary or life changing but they do work! Do you have any tips on how you save money on your groceries? Share them below!