We here in the Kershner house are always looking for ways to save money. I looked at our grocery spending and saw room for improvement. This is a tough one for me because, while on the one hand, I hate spending hundreds of dollars every month and having nothing to show for it (except unwanted inches), I also love to cook and entertain and try new things. Those things don't really lend themselves to budget friendly shopping trips.
I have set my budget at $600 per month for this family of 4 humans and 3 pets and I that includes all food, beverage and cleaning supplies. Here are 15 tips on what I'm doing to make this work for me and how it might work for you:
1) CUT COUPONS- but only the ones for products you would really use anyway.
2) Don't be afraid of store brands. Many of them are just as good if not better than the "real" brand.
3) Learn where items are cheapest that you regularly buy & stock up on them at that store.
4) If it's on sale and you use it regularly, buy it even if you don't need it right now and hey go ahead and buy an extra and if it's on sale and you have a coupon, you better not even think twice about it.
5) Give yourself permission to buy the splurge items that you just can't live without. For me: Kashi Go Lean Waffles, fresh produce & organic milk and eggs.
6) Compare prices on different sizes of the same item and buy the one that is a better deal in the long run. P.S. It's not always the biggest.
7) Buy your produce at a wholesale club. We buy apples, kiwi, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries regularly at Costco.
8) Sometimes shopping a store you really don't like ( for me: Walmart) can be worth the sacrifice. The prices really are lower on the majority of the items, they match other stores sale ads and they don't have all the cute clothes and home stuff that tempts me at Target.
9) Try to avoid frequent trips to the grocery store for 1 or 2 things. I will go in for milk and bread and end up spending $50 on stuff that wasn't even on my list. I do a big shop twice a month with a small trip on the off weeks for whatever small items that I need.
10) Menu plan. I make 2 weeks of menus at a time and then when I get up in the morning and can't decide what to make for dinner, I just look at the schedule. I allow myself the flexibility to switch meals around as needed.
11) When you go shopping, make a list and stick to it.
12) Cook and bake from scratch when time allows.
13) Always make sure you have ingredients around for simple meals for those nights that you don't feel like cooking a big dinner. That way you won't be tempted to pick up the phone and order pizza.
14) Plan so that you use everything that you buy without having to throw food away. If you need buttermilk for that cake, plan to make buttermilk mashed potatoes to use up the rest of it. Keep a bag in your freezer for bread that is stale and for the heels, they make great homemade croutons.
15) When making dinner, cook extra and have a leftover night. Who wants to cook every night? We call this "Every man for himself" night.
I hope this helps some of you to stretch your grocery dollars. I'd love to know, what is your grocery budget per month and how do you go about making that a reality in your house?