This post is part of the series: How to Slash Your Budget One Item at a Time.
This month’s topic – Grocery Bill and how to slash it.
Hi All – Emily Again!
When I was in college, my dad said “whatever you save on groceries, you can spend on manicures/pedicures! It was on… I was determined. This practice has ebbed and flowed for me. I got married. Now I have a child. But the principles are the same. I do what I can to save money on groceries. And I’m sharing today about what I’ve learned.
I tried to make my own cleaning supplies, it didn’t work for me. That would have saved a ton. However, I do buy about every 60 days from Vitacost. It’s free shipping and I spend about $60 – 75 on cleaning supplies.
I keep a pretty organic home. I am not going to say everything is, because it just isn’t. We tend to eat fresher and sometimes that can cost more. But I do the following to keep my grocery bills down:
- Compare Prices — It matters what is on sale. I go through the weekly ads and see where I want to shop. I tend to shop Kroger, The Commissary and WalMart.
- Make a list and stick to it. This is KEY!
- Clip Coupons — Clip only coupons of items you need. If you shop organic, sign up with Organic Deals and go to brand websites for various coupons. If you clip coupons you can generally save at least 10% of your grocery bill. If you shop at say, Kroger (Fred Meyer in the NorthWest) and you follow their ad and deals AND add your own coupon, it is likely you will save close to 20%.
I am not a fan of extreme couponing or buying 57 mustards because they are $0.47. I can’t take the logic. Because to be honest, you could buy two or four and that would last you a year. Save the money you would have spent on the other 53. But that’s me.
- Bring Cash — If your grocery budget every two weeks is $300.00. Bring cash and make it finite. You will be amazed how much you don’t buy if you know you only have a certain amount. Especially if you buy at WalMart, let’s say and you see a zillion things you might need. The finite number ends that.
- Stock your pantry with basics — I keep basics so that if I need to I can throw together a meal. It may not be what we want, but I can toss together a casserole or something yummy for sure.
Your list of basics will be different than mine. But I’ve included a table that is off the top of my head.
- Keep extra of the things you always use. I typically use part of our yearly bonus to stockpile a bit, especially things that do not expire. Oh – and trust me, this is no giant bonus. lol
- Menu Planning is a must — I am a fan of simplicity. Here is my menu plan for February.
Lots of people use fancy printables. I use a dry-erase whiteboard calendar stuck to my fridge. I like it because I can erase if I need to.
If printed menu plans works for you – that is great too. Just give yourself permission to cross out a meal and pencil something else in. You may want breakfast for dinner.
I do the plan a month in advance. I shop to the meal plan. If we get asked to dinner I can easily change the plan. If we have practice and decide to have soup/sandwich afterwards or something light, we just change the plan around. It’s flexible that way. It does not mean I erase and go back to the store – to me, dry erase = flexibility. And that is life!
- Cut down on meat. I serve at least two meatless meals/week. We are Catholic, so Friday’s are meatless by habit. We usually eat beans & rice one other day during the week. It’s so inexpensive.
- Repurpose Food — Where you see leftovers on my menu could mean food from the night before OR weeks before. It’s the latter I call repurposed food. For example, maybe I had burgers leftover from grilling and I froze them. And week’s later I turn them into meat sauce for spaghetti. Maybe I have chicken leftover from a roasted chicken. I may freeze it and turn it into pot pie or chicken and broccoli over rice. In my head, I’m saying “reduce, reuse, recycle – repurpose!”
- Join a Produce Co-op — or shop the local farmer’s CSA’s. We love ours. For about $20 we get enough fruits & veggies to last two weeks. We supplement this with veggies from our freezer or pantry. I bet you this has reduced our grocery budget by at least $50/month. Produce is expensive!
- Portion Control is Key. WHAT??? Seriously. Never mind the waistline, portion control is about the budget. If you go back for seconds, you may not have leftovers. I’ve been saying we needed to lose weight for years and preaching portion control for the wrong reasons. Boy, when I said, “honey, if you don’t go back for seconds it would be better for our budget”… those were the magic words.
- Check out these sites:
Good Cheap Eats & Life As Mom are both the same lady. You could really find all you needed to there. I’ve learned a ton from her. And if you get perplexed about what to serve, there is always Pinterest.
God bless you all. I hope and pray you found this helpful.
Until next time…