The average American household spends an insane amount of their paycheck on groceries. How can this be? Among the many problems that contribute to this, here are a few:
1. Prices are on the rise –
We are all well-aware of the constant inflation rate, and our groceries are no exception. Prices continue to rise, and families are caught trying to cook meals at home while overspending in their grocery budgets every month.
2. “Healthy” is expensive –
Gone are the days where living on the land was the most affordable thing to do. We now find ourselves walking into health food stores shocked by the prices we see on a simple box of oatmeal.
3. Time is of the essence –
In many households, both parents carry their own jobs. This leaves less and less time for couponing, saving, and taking the time to plan out the trip to the grocery store.
In order to truly “cut your grocery bill in half” you will need to take a few important steps. Don’t worry … they are easy! Before you know it, you will see the savings start to grow.
If you can begin to change this one area of your spending, you will see major improvements in your overall budget.
Given that this is one of the biggest spending categories in American budgets, it’s important that we take control of this area.
Here Are 5 Things to Do Today to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half:
1. Pick One Day of the Week to Plan
On that day, you will only need to carve out an hour or less. Make sure you stick to that day every week, or else you will run out of time and start buying meals on a whim – which means more spending.
On this day, you will need 2 things – 1.) The sale flyer for the store you shop at and … 2.) Your grocery store’s mobile app with downloadable coupons
From here, write down a list of every day’s meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want to start slow, simply write down dinners for the week.
Look at what’s on sale, compare it to coupons in your app (if there’s a sale AND a coupon you’ve hit the jackpot!) and plan your meals around those sales.
I typically plan Mon-Thurs meals because I know we will be with family or friends on Friday night. Do what works with your schedule.
Store your “list” in your phone along with your downloaded coupons and you can do this shopping trip whenever your schedule allows.
2. Shop 1 Day of the Week
Get all of your shopping done on that one day, according to your list. This should be very easy for you to do and should take less than an hour, but make sure you carve out the time for it. Think of the time you will save avoiding the store 3-4 times a week like most families! (especially during the after-work rush hour!)
The only time I deviate from the list is if I can find the store brand product that beats the price of my sale ad & coupon price. This happens on occasion, so I will just go with the store brand. That will save you BIG in the long run.
3. Pay Cash
Maybe you haven’t jumped on the “envelope system” bandwagon, but you CAN make a big difference in your budget by simply paying cash for groceries.
There’s is something innately frugal about paying cash: you know exactly what you have, you can’t spend any more than that, and you are sure you will stay within your budget.
The magic starts to happen when you realize that with this fixed amount, you can get creative in many different ways. Eventually you will see yourself buying A LOT for a little.
4. Plan for Days You Don’t Want to Cook
Throughout the week, unexpected things will happen. You will find yourself getting lazy, and that favorite chinese takeout restaurant sounds AMAZING.
So how do you combat this? Simply plan for those days.
Whether this means store-bought pizza (less expensive than takeout pizza), or freezer-friendly microwave meals that take seconds to prepare … plan for those days.
Here’s a simple comparison:
Cost of chinese takeout for 2 ppl = $20 – $25
Cost of “Pf Changs” refrigerated takeout meal for two at the grocery store = $5
**thats 4x-5x the savings!**
Thursday happens to be “that day” for me. I never want to cook on Thursdays! Maybe it’s because Friday is so close, or maybe it’s just because I can’t handle the monotony of cooking one more night, but Thursday is definitely my week spot. Because of this, I have built into the list either a pre-made meal, refrigerated pizza dough, or something very convenient to make like quesadillas.
5. Make Your Grocery Budget Reasonable
One of the biggest mistakes budgeters make is creating a spending category that is too strict. This can make you feel like a failure, as you will often miss the mark.
Decide on a reasonable amount to spend that you won’t feel “deprived” by at the end of the week. If you feel too deprived, you will end up “binge spending” at the end of the week – similar to what happens to people on a diet. They are deprived from their favorite foods only to binge on pizza Friday night!
Make sure this doesn’t happen to you, and create a solid spending category that you can consistently meet each week.
Put these 5 tips into practice today and you will see MAJOR improvements in that grocery bill!
– Faithful with Finances