I consider our grocery budget a work in progress.
There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about how I can cut back, or where I can save.
It’s the most variable part of our budget, and at times, it has been one of the largest expenses we have.
When I became a stay-at-home mom I decided this was the area of our budget that needed the most work. It took a lot of small changes to arrive at a big amount of money saved each month – $350 to be exact!
So here are the steps I took to get us in the right place financially. Who knows, maybe one or two of them will work for you too!
I stopped making “fancy meals”
Deep down I LOVE to cook, so it was hard to give up my fancy meals. I would serve a nice piece of meat, 2 sides, and maybe even bread and tapenade as an appetizer. And don’t forget a nice glass of wine!
As soon as I decided to stay home with our daughter, I knew this had to change. I started making 5 ingredient meals (or less), one-pot dishes, simple easy recipes, you name it. As far as luxuries, like wine, dessert or a special dish – those are saved for once or twice a week as a substitute for going out. That way I am actually saving my family money instead of going out!
Savings Value: $75/mo
I gave up meaningless snacks and desserts
After analyzing our budget I realized one month I spend $50 on desserts!!! And this was all at Trader Joe’s, a pretty reasonably-priced grocery chain. I would grab cookies, maybe chocolate covered almonds, and the occasional ice cream – they would just slip into my cart and go under the radar. Cutting out snacks and desserts was a game changer – it freed up at least $50 (sometimes more) in our budget. I focused on preparing filling meals so we didn’t necessarily need the mindless snacking.
Savings Value: $50/mo
I went to the store twice a month
I realized in looking at our spending that I was going to the grocery store 3-4 times a week. We’d be out of something, so naturally, I’d run to the store! These multiple trips were costing me. I was being tempted at the time to throw in items I didn’t need. To solve this I planned a couple big trips every month and made sure I had everything I needed on hand for each recipe.
Savings Value: $25/mo
I started couponing (the easy way)
Back when my husband and I first got married, I loved to coupon. I had hours to clip all my coupons, find deals, scour the local ads, and make multiple trips to different stores JUST to score a good deal.
Nowadays, I’m lucky if I have one hour a week to devote to couponing! What made the difference? I follow blogs like PassionforSavings.
This made couponing a breeze!
Now I just pick up a few newspapers every week at the Dollar Tree, file them away by date, and watch my emails from PassionforSavings where they tell you exactly where each coupon is and match it to the date and store – cake!
In reality this practice saves my family HUNDREDS. But let’s be conservative…
Savings Value: $100/mo
I buy my staples in bulk
Sure, I could use coupons for almost anything, but if I’m in a pinch and just need to save money, I buy in bulk. Our eggs, bread, coffee, rice and meats are all purchased at Costco. Just to give you a comparison, I typically see a dozen eggs at Ralphs “on sale” for around $2.99. At Costco I get 5 dozen eggs for $3.79. My family goes through eggs pretty quick so I could either be spending $14.95 on eggs every month or $3.79 … you get the picture!
Savings Value: $50
I stock up when I see a deal
Have you ever run out of something that you absolutely need in a recipe and had to go to the store and pay full price? It’s not fun! I noticed that this was eating away at our grocery budget, so I buckled down and decided to buy big when I saw a deal. Our local Sprouts grocery chain does a sale on chicken at least once a month for $1.88/lb. When I see that sale I run over there and buy about 5 big packages of chicken. Then I come home and separate them into freezer bags and throw them in the freezer. This saves me HUGE amounts of money every month! And I always have chicken on hand to make in a recipe, which gives me no excuse for going out to eat!
Savings Value: $50
Total Savings: $350
What are your favorite ways to save on your grocery budget? I would love to hear more tips!
Erika from Faithful with Finances