Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grocery Budgeting

Tips for Keeping Your Grocery Bill Down

I used to walk into the grocery store and just start putting things in my cart. While I was in the store is when I would start to think about what I'd make throughout the week. I used to take Hub-to-be with me to the store. I also used to walk out of the store having spent $200 bucks thinking "That doesn't really seem like a lot for 200 dollars...".Inevitably, I forgot critical items for the meals I planned while strolling down the aisles. I'd either surrender to fast food, ordering in or going back to the store at some point in the week. First tip: only go to the store 1 time a week (or once every 2 weeks, whatever works for you)!! How many times have you gone into the store for one or two things and left with bags full? Budget Breaker. The less you are in the store the less time you have to spend your money!

Some of my friends say my money saving planning seems like too much work. I won't lie, it does take some effort but the more you do it the easier it gets. I promise! I sit down every Sunday with the ads and my coupons. I ask my family members if anything in particular sounds good for dinner this week. I try a new recipe once every two weeks or so (new recipes often call for spice or items I don't usually keep in the pantry/fridge so I limit how often I try a new one so I'm not constantly buying extra or new things). We have a list of 'go-to' means that are crowd pleasing, easy and often call for similar items. I'm aware of what each meal needs and base my other meals around that (example: Jelly Bean wants Taco Salad one night. I know I will have extra lettuce so I plan chicken sandwiches for the next night). I try to make sure I do not waste. Produce has always been hard in this house so I try and make sure I am storing the produce properly (thank you Pinterest!).

I'll leave you with a few more ideas/thoughts. I use less meat than recipes call for- If I buy a 3lb ground beef pack I usually get 4 meals out of it. My family is none the wiser if there's 3/4lbs of meat in the spaghetti instead of 1lb :) Also, we do not have any 'must-haves'. We don't buy particular brands or items each week. If it's not on sale or it doesn't fit in the budget we don't have orange juice that week (or pop tarts or whatever else). I make as much as I can from scratch; I double the recipe and freeze what I can. Muffins and pancakes are great breakfast options and so inexpensive to make and freeze! I know everything I can offer for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. I don't exactly plan out each meal but I can offer the kiddos X, Y or Z and know I have that on hand. Hubs-to-be takes leftovers for lunch often. Hmmm. There are many other ways to save I've found over the years but that's all I have for you this time. Just for reference out family of 5 has a budget of $80 a week for groceries. I prefer to keep it down around $60 and 'roll over' the extra money for great meat deals.


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