Tips for Sticking to your Grocery Budget

Have you been spending a lot of money on groceries each month and are wondering if there is any possible way to reduce your family’s food budget? In many cases, the answer to this is, “Yes.” With a little creativity and willingness to put in some extra time and effort, it can be possible to reduce your grocery bill substantially. Read on to find out how you can start saving on food today.

1. Eat at Home More Often

Are you in the habit of frequenting your local restaurant or drive-thru line? If so, you could be spending hundreds of dollars more on your food bill than you should. Although you may think that you can’t cook, there are several simple recipes online that can enable you to have a relatively quick and nutritious meal on the table for your family in 30 minutes or less each night.

2. Compile a Meal Plan

If you are in the habit of wandering through the aisles at your local grocery store and randomly placing items in your cart, you could be contributing to a higher food bill without even realizing it. Before going out to purchase your next round of groceries, take a few minutes to prepare a meal plan for the week. This will enable you to only purchase items that will be needed to prepare the meals on your list. If you would like to step the money saving up a notch, consider preparing the week’s meals according to what is on sale at your local grocery store.

3. Get creative with Protein Sources

When the topic of protein arises, many people still only associate this with various meat, fish and poultry products. However, other sources of protein can include various types of beans, lentils, and eggs. These can be used to bulk up a dish so that smaller portions of actual meat can be served, thus reducing your bill. If you are used to preparing cuts of meat with each meal, consider introducing one or two meat-free days per week – and see how much lower your food bill will be.

4. Frozen is Just as Good as Fresh

if you are craving a particular form of production that is not currently in season, you will pay more than a top dollar if your purchase it fresh. However, if you are willing to purchase it in frozen form, you could save quite a bit of money. An added advantage is that if you have any leftovers, they can be frozen and kept until such time as you would like to use them again, whereas, with fresh produce, you will have to use it all before it reaches its best before date.

As you can see, there is no need to exist on a diet of bread, rice, and beans if you need to drastically reduce your grocery bill in as short a time as possible. Making a few simple changes like the ones mentioned above will make a substantial difference to your budget.

Tips to Reduce your Grocery Budget

As prices of food and other grocery items continue to rise, it results in more and more people struggling to afford even the basic necessities in many cases. Although this often results in them thinking that they will have to do without some items on their shopping lists, this may not always be the case. Below are a few tips that can help you shave a good few dollars off your next grocery bill, as well as future bills.

Plan Ahead

Research has shown that anyone who shops without a list will definitely make several impulse purchases while in store. For example, while walking through the canned food aisle, you may be tempted to buy more items than you actually need for that week or month. Before leaving home, make a detailed list of the items you have run out of or are running low on. This will ensure that you don’t buy items you don’t need, while not going home with goods that you did in fact need.

Don’t Shop Hungry

This may sound strange, but you will almost certainly spend a lot more on groceries if you head out hungry. This is because everything you see will be appealing at that moment. However, not only will this be bad for your waistline; it will cause havoc with your grocery budget as well. Always ensure that you eat a decent meal before heading out to do grocery shopping – your budget will definitely thank you afterward.

Consider Trying Store Brands

Although store brands used to be considered awful, this is no longer the case. In fact, several store brand items are considered to be just as good or even better than some of the branded products available these days. When choosing store brand items such as ketchup, spices, herbs, dish soap and other items, you could find yourself saving up to 20% on your grocery bill. If you find that you don’t enjoy using store brand items, consider just switching to a cheaper brand of the item you are searching for.

Reduce the Amount of Meat Consumed

Meat is by far one of the most expensive grocery items, especially beef, and mutton or lamb. With the average household consuming meat for at least one meal per day, this adds up quickly. Introducing one or two meat-free meals per week can help reduce your grocery budget substantially – in many cases, by at least $20 to $30 per week, depending on the meat cuts your family prefers.

Although shaving $10 to $20 per week off of your family’s grocery budget may not seem like much, this can easily add up to over $1,000 per year! Money saved on groceries can then be put towards paying another essential bill or perhaps even a fun family day out at some point. In fact, you could even turn it into a game with your family to see who can come up with the most creative ways to save money on food.

How Much Should your Grocery Bill Be?

Many of us who read the posts on frugal food-related websites will most likely have seen a few posts along the lines of, ‘We feed our family of eight for just $xyz per month,’ or ‘slash your grocery bill by 90%.’ While the headlines of these posts may seem appealing, it can often result in readers thinking that they must be doing something wrong if they are not able to stick to a grocery budget of the same amount as that of the person posting the information. However, this is not the case.

Prices will be Location Dependent

The amount of money you will need to feed your family will depend on the part of the country that you are situated in because some states have more affordable food prices than others. For example, your grocery bill will be far higher in New York than down South. This means that a family of eight living down South will be able to get more value for money than one residing in New York.

Local Produce will Vary

When trying to slash your grocery bill, one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to ensure that you and your family consume as many locally grown forms of produce possible. Anything that has to be transported in from out of town or another country will send your bill skyrocketing.

Different types of fresh produce are grown in various parts of the country as well. This is another reason why you will not be able to replicate someone else’s grocery budget dollar for dollar – even if you prepare the same meals as they do and have a family that is the same size as theirs.

Sales Vary in Each Part of the Country

Another reason why everyone’s grocery budget differs is that sale prices also vary around the country. Although a friend or family member in another state may be getting excellent deals on their meat or chicken, you may not be. For example, chicken breasts may be $2.50 in one part of the country and almost $3.50 elsewhere when they are advertised as being on sale.

Your Family’s Dietary Needs are Unique

No two families will ever have exactly the same dietary needs, meaning that no family’s grocery budget will ever be the same as another family’s. For instance, you may have family members who have gluten or nut allergies, while another family may have a member who is diabetic.

Instead of trying to replicate another family’s grocery budget that you have seen online, it’s recommended that you focus on trying to get the best possible prices for items that you use regularly, as well as staples such as rice, potatoes, sugar, flour, meat, and chicken. If possible, compare the prices between different stores in your area that aren’t too far away from where you live or work. After all, you wouldn’t want to save a few dollars on your groceries, only to spend it on gas.

Drastic Measures to Reduce your Grocery Bill

If your family has fallen on financially difficult times, one of the first things you will want to do in order to reduce expenses as much as possible looks for ways to slash your grocery bill – without having to subsist on road kill, beans and rice in the process. Below are a few somewhat more drastic measures you can take to help reduce your grocery bill until such time as you are better off financially.

Cook One Meal for Everyone

These days, far too many families have allowed fussy eating to take over their homes. Not only does this make a lot of extra work for the person who does the cooking; it results in an extremely high grocery bill as well. It will also cause your electricity and/or gas bill to increase because of having to cook additional meals. For example, one family member may state that ‘they aren’t in the mood’ for a particular dish that has been prepared, resulting in the cook having to whip up something different for them.

It is recommended that you have a family meeting to inform everyone why things have to change with regards to meal preparation. Although there may be complaints from some family members, they will soon learn to eat what has been prepared if they are hungry. The only time you should be preparing a different meal for a family member to that which has been prepared for everyone else is if there is an allergy issue or specific dietary requirement.

Stick to a List

When grocery shopping, it is very tempting to place a few extras in your carts such as crisps, cookies and other junk food. However, these impulse buys can add up to 50% on to your grocery spend in little to no time at all. Although everyone deserves a treat from time to time, you don’t want to be spending the bulk of your grocery budget on items that provide no nutritional value to your family.

Before heading to the store, it’s crucial that you take a few minutes to check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what you really need and make a list of those items. This will ensure that you purchase the essentials without duplicating items that you already have. If there are items that are on sale that you use regularly, consider adding one or two extra of these to your cart – provided that you will be able to finish them up before their expiry date.

Another great way to drastically reduce your grocery bill is to shop less often. Instead of heading to the store for one or two items, wait until you have at least eight to 10 items on your list. This will not only save you time; it will reduce your gas bill as well because you will be making fewer trips to the store than before. You will also be less tempted to make impulse purchases this way.

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Over the past few years, the cost of essential items such as groceries has risen substantially. This has resulted in many families having to change their eating habits just so that they can afford to put meals on the table each day. Although it may sound daunting to have to shop with a predetermined budget in mind, it actually isn’t. Below are a few great tips that will help you stay on budget while still feeding your family healthy and nutritious meals.

1. Buy Produce that is In Season Only

Many people think that in order to stay healthy, they need to eat all types of produce throughout the year. However, this can quickly drive your grocery bill up to horrendous levels. When purchasing produce, ensure that you only add in-season items to your grocery cart. This will still enable you to serve healthy meals to your family, but it will enable you to do so far more affordable.

2. Only Purchase what you will use

When shopping for fresh produce and other perishables such as milk, bread, and meat, a lot of people make the mistake of purchase items that are on sale – even though they know that they won’t ever use them or get through them before they reach their expiry date. Instead, only purchase foods that you know your family eats and that you will be able to consume before it goes bad. The only time you should purchase larger quantities of items on sale is if you have the means to freeze or store them in such a way that they won’t rot before being able to be used.

3. Prepare One Meal for Everyone

Too many parents have fallen into the trap of preparing multiple meals because each family member wants something other than that which has been prepared. The only time this should be necessary is in cases where there are allergy sufferers in a family that genuinely cannot eat a particular food. Although it will take time for everyone to come around and eat what has been prepared, your grocery budget will certainly thank you in the long run for adopting this behavior.

4. Freeze Leftovers

A lot of people are in the habit of simply tossing leftovers after a meal. However, in many cases, there is enough food over to serve another full meal. While your family may object to having the same meal served two days in a row, this can be countered by freezing the leftovers and serving them the following week instead. This will also enable you to have a fast meal on hand that only required reheating – perfect for busy evenings where there isn’t enough time to cook a full meal.

5. Prepare a Weekly Meal Plan

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t go over your grocery budget is to plan your meals a week in advance. This enables you to only purchase items that will be used within the week and it saves you having to think about what to prepare for dinner when you’re tired. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could opt to do meal planning for 2 weeks or even a month at a time as well.

6. Stock up on Sale Items

Although it was mentioned earlier to only purchase what will be used within a particular week, an exception to this is when items you use regularly go on sale. In cases like this, stocking up on multiple units of non-perishable items or foods that can be frozen will help shave a few hundred dollars a year off your grocery bill. This especially applies to items such as toilet paper, toiletry items such as soaps, toothpaste, and shampoos – these items can usually be stored for quite a while.

7. Eat at Home

Many families think that it’s cheaper to purchase takeouts than it is to prepare meals at home. While this may be true in the case of the dollar menus, it’s important to remember that these items are seldom healthy or nutritious. Cooking at home more will enable you to reduce your grocery bill substantially – and your family will be healthier as a result.

Implementing even a few of the measures mentioned above will help ensure that you remain within your grocery budget. This will not only help alleviate a significant amount of financial stress; it will allow you to save a little more of your hard earned cash each month as well.

Around The Web