For the past few months I have made it a priority to save money on groceries. Previously, I shopped whenever the urge hit and bought whatever looked good, often spending $500 or more a month at the grocery store. Well, no more. I’ve cut my budget to $350 a month, including household goods and dog food. Last month I came in close, but $.79 under budget. My old self would have called that a miracle, but there actually isn’t anything miraculous about it. If you follow these five steps, there’s no way you won’t save money on groceries.
- Don’t go to the Store. But we have to eat, right? Yes, but if you run by the store to grab one or two things, you usually end up buying more and picking up a rotisserie chicken on the way out instead of going home to cook. Make one or two big shops a month and if you need to run in to buy milk or bananas, get only what you came for, and don’t go at dinner time!
- Make a Meal Plan. If you want to only shop once or twice a month, you have to know what to get so you won’t end up having to run to the store at the last minute. By planning meals, you can look for sales at different stores and have a list before you go so you won’t fall into my old trap of buying whatever looks good.
- Cut out Packaged Snacks. We still buy snacks. My husband and daughter would revolt if I didn’ t have some, but you can make tons of Rice Krispie Treats with a box of cereal, butter, and marshmallows while a small box of premade ones costs $3. I’m not Suzy Homemaker and can’t cook everything, but if you can replace one or two things you eat regularly with something homemade, it adds up.
- Use Coupons and Sales That Make Sense. If you spend hours a week trying to find and organize coupons, they get counterproductive, and you might end up with 500 jars of baby food when you don’t have kids. However, taking a little time to see what is on sale and has available coupons through the store websites, online, or in the newspaper for things you need can save tons. I don’t remember a shop when I didn’t save at least 20% by using store sales and coupons.
- Play the Grocery Game Challenge at Canadian Budget Binder. This is by far the biggest reason my grocery budget has gone down. Everything I buy gets posted for the game. Mr. CBB doesn’t stick bamboo shoots under my fingernails if I go over budget or buy Doritos, but by holding mysef accountable, I think about every purchase. If you don’t want to post online, then have a contest with a friend, but make sure someone else is watching what you spend. It does wonders.
Alright, now that you know 5 guaranteed ways to save money on groceries, how about a giveaway of $100 in Paypal cash or an Amazon gift card to jump start your grocery budget? The contest runs until December 15th so share and enter often.