How to Make your Grocery Budget Last All Month
If you aren’t conscious about the money you spend in the grocery store on each trip, you can easily go over your budget. It’s important that you plan and research before you head to the supermarket, in order to make your cash go as far as it can.
Read on to learn how you can make your grocery budget last all month. It’s definitely not as difficult as you think!
Plan your meals ahead of time – as much as a whole month ahead.
Try not to overthink this. You may feel overwhelmed at the idea of planning meals for 30 days. However, once you sit down and do it, you will see it gets easier over time – and it saves you a great deal of money on groceries!
Consider items you already have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Make a list of meals you can make with these items. Next, make a separate list of meals you want to have that you will need ingredients for. Then check your grocery store sales flyers to see who has those items on sale.
Another idea for menu planning on a budget is this: Check your grocery store sales flyers FIRST, then plan your menu items for that week based on what is on sale and what you have in your cupboards already.
You only plan one week at a time this way so it’s a little less intimidating, and you save a lot of money by planning around what you can get for the least amount of money! You also only shop once a week this way saving you money on those quick grocery store trips that you go in for one thing and end up buying 10 (in case you were wondering, I know this from personal experience)!
Have similar meals in the same week to use leftovers.
Look for patterns in the meals you are planning. For example, say you want to have spaghetti one night and Chicken Parmesan another night.
Add these meals to your planner within a couple days of each other, as you can use the leftover spaghetti for the chicken dish. This prevents food waste and saves on your budget. Wasted food is wasted money!
Purchase items in bulk.
It’s usually cheaper to buy more of the same item than to buy smaller quantities. Again, go back to your list of meals you want to have. Do you have the same ingredient, such as beans or rice, multiple times? If so, make sure you purchase a bulk-size container of these items to cut back on your spending.
It may also be helpful to shop at wholesale stores such as Sam’s Club or Costco for your bulk purchases. Wholesale stores can save you a lot of money, but only if you make sure you use everything up. If any of it ends up getting thrown out because you couldn’t use it fast enough, you probably didn’t come out ahead.
Plan your snacks too.
This can be where many families overspend. They do great on budgeting for meals, but then they toss in enough snack crackers, cookies, or chips to clear out their pocketbooks. (This is another one that I also know from personal experience! 😉 )
Make a list of snack ideas for your family. The more snacks you can make with the fewer ingredients, the better. Also, try to go for snacks that use similar ingredients, so you aren’t purchasing so many different items at the grocery store.
For example, snack crackers can go great with pimento cheese, salsa, or cream cheese. Warehouse clubs are also a terrific way to save on snacks. Usually you can get large packages of snack items for a very fair price at these stores.
Coupons are a great way to stretch your grocery budget, but only if you use them correctly. Buying something not on your shopping list just to use the coupon, unless it’s a 100% discount, is not a wise decision.
Another coupon mistake is to buy the more expensive name brand items that you end up paying more for even with a coupon. The trick to SAVING BIG with coupons is to cut out the ones you know you will need the item, then wait for a store sale to go with the coupon. By waiting for the store sale to go with the coupon, you are maximizing your savings to get the most for your money! You can even print coupons from home like I do to use at the store! It’s a super easy way to save!
These tips should help you stretch your grocery budget so that it lasts all month. Planning and preparation, as well as fewer trips to the grocery store, are the keys to ensuring your family doesn’t spend too much on food!
For more tips on making a budget to get control of your money, check out our post “How to Budget Your Income to the Very Last Penny“. It’s a great place to get started on ending the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck!
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