How to Totally Overhaul Your Grocery Budget
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Earlier this year, I was able to keep my groceries to $50 a week. I was pretty proud of this because the average American spends $151 a week on food. We accomplished this because my husband and I were in ultra frugal mode, making tons of soups, going without meat, and in general being grocery budget ninjas.
Then, my twins turned 1 in March and started eating solid foods. Suddenly we had two children on our hands who were eating like full blown adults. We were going through cartons of blueberries and raspberries every week. They were going through a whole loaf of bread every week. And, let’s not even talk about the gallons of milk, the bunches of bananas, and all that delicious mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly!
I always thought that once the kids started eating solid food, they would eat like babies. However, it’s truly astonishing how much food they can fit in their little adorable bellies. I swear some meals they eat more than I do.
Needless to say, our grocery spending went through the roof especially because we were feeding them so much produce that we rarely treated ourselves to. So, I’ve been trying to find ways to pull back while still giving my kids all that nutritious and delicious food. If you’re a parent or just someone who wants to totally overhaul your grocery budget, here are some tips.
Shop the Perimeter
I have to credit my husband for telling me about this technique. He read it somewhere and since he told me about it, I’ve been seeing it in many different places. The idea is to shop only for fresh produce, meat, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. that you can find on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid a lot of the packaged, expensive products in the middle of the store.
Have a Plan
I don’t plan out my meals for the month. I’ve tried and failed many times at meal planning; however, I always try to set myself up for success. So, I might have a variety of vegetables ready to go along with a chicken breast or I might have some soup in the crock pot that I start in the morning.
The thing with a plan is that it trains you to eat what you have. When you don’t have a plan and you come home from work hungry with all your meat frozen, you can easily get into the habit of ordering food instead.
So, just because you’re not the perfect Pinterest family with color coded meal plans, you can still think a little bit ahead. This will help you to save money, time, and stress less too.
Be Okay With Inconvenience
I admit, I do buy a lot of the convenience items for my kids whether it’s a huge box of goldfish crackers or a large pack of the organic fruit squeezies. These are simple things that don’t require me to chop or prepare. It also makes a very hungry little child quiet instantly when they are in their high chair screaming!
I admit that these convenience items do cost extra, so in order to cut down the grocery budget, I’ve been a lot better lately about thinking ahead and cutting up fruit in the morning to use all day along with some other snacks and side items that aren’t from a package.
By being okay with a little bit of inconvenience or extra preparation (like shredding cheese instead of buying expensive cheese sticks) I’m able to save a little bit of money each grocery trip. (Editor’s note: We do a lot of the same things to accomplish the same convenience with our three growing, not-so-little little ones. We also shop sparingly from Amazon to help fill-in items and get a better deal.)
Ultimately, it is possible to cut down on food costs every month. This is typically one of the largest categories in people’s budgets aside from their house payment and rent. There are many ways to slim down your grocery spending from spending less on meat to buying less alcohol, but the main tenant of all of these tips is developing new habits and tracking your spending.
If you can get a good handle on your spending patterns when it comes to food and try to notice your habits when you go shopping (like throwing last minute items into the cart) you can definitely train yourself to spend less and save your family a lot of money.
How much is your grocery budget every month? Do you usually stick to it or go over? Do your kids eat as much as mine? What is the one thing/item that makes it difficult to stick to your grocery budget each month?
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