Do you live your life on a budget?
Yeah, me too! 🙂
I heard once that the average family spends $100 per family member per month on groceries. For our family of 4, I like to push this a bit and spend around $300 per month on groceries (not including household extras like toilet paper, cleaning supples, etc).
Are you spending more or less than the “average?”
For the last 3.5 years, I’ve been at home with my kids. Being a single income family has it’s challenges and has required me to be “creative” with our funds from time to time.
However, in the last 6 months, I have focused more on a “cleaner” meal plan and made some major shifts in the type of foods I am buying in the grocery store.
I often find that people are afraid they can’t “afford” to eat healthy because they think it will be expensive. This really isn’t the case at all. Unless you’re eating Ramen Noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you will probably save money by switching to a healthier/cleaner diet.
Here are my 6 best tips:
- Make a List and Stick to it
This is by far the biggest and most important tip on this list.
The best way for you to make the most efficient list is to create a full meal plan and create your shopping list off of your meal plan. This will ensure that you are only buying the items that you NEED and not the cookies or bag of potato chips that mysteriously seem to make their way into your cart.
Which leads to the second part of this tip, sticking to the list. It’s easy to make impulse purchases in the store and throw a few unnecessary items in your cart, which will also result in your spending more $$$ but put those blinders on and only buy what you NEED
2. Buy Fresh In Season
I spend a large majority of my time in the produce section! The idea of clean eating is based off eating foods in their most natural state without being processed. So the produce section is where it’s at!
BUT buying certain items out of season can really impact your wallet. So I like to take advantage of sale and in season produce to keep my grocery budget low.
For example, back in July strawberries were $.97 per pound at Kroger and you better believe I ate strawberries like it was a job! And now that they’re $2.50 per pound, I either won’t purchase them or I will only purchase 1 pound depending on my meal plan for the week!
3. Buy Frozen Out of Season
This is my solution is eating healthy and clean in spite of #2 or if you are busy and don’t like to prepare fresh veggies, buy them frozen!!
Frozen veggies are very reasonably priced and they are frozen at peak freshness so you can still get quality frozen produce. Kroger has many of their frozen veggies for $1 per bag.
This can also be done for convenience. I like to purchase the mixed pepper blend from Kroger and add them to my eggs in the morning.
4. Buy in Bulk
This one can be tricky because when it comes to buying in bulk, you HAVE to know your prices! One or Two bad purchases at Costco or Sam’s can cost you and extra $10-$30 on your tip in just one week which can really add up over time. So this is why I say you must know your price so you know if you’re getting a good deal or not!
I love Costco! It is my happy place, but not EVERYTHING inside of Costco is deal!
Some of my favorites are their bananas, almonds, milk, eggs, rotisserie chicken (seriously get one now), ezekiel bread, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies (not the absolute cheapest, but I love the quality).
5. Meal plan around protein sale items
This again is where planning will come in handy. I like to check out the store ads before creating my meal plan to see what kind of protein is on sale for the week. Proteins eat up (no pun intended) a good portion of our grocery budget so it is super important that I keep this in check!
I would love to eat steak and pork chops every week, but that’s just not realistic, so we eat a lot of chicken breast and ground turkey (which I actually buy at Costco) because they are always reasonably priced, but if I see pork loin or roast on sale for the week I will add these into my meal plan since I can often save a few dollars off these when they are on sale
6. Marked Down Items
I always look for marked down items. My favorite are the mark downs in the meat section because again, these eat up a large portion of my budget.
If I find something marked down I will either cook it that day or immediately put it in the freezer for another day! This ground chicken for example, I found marked down, but was not on my meal plan. I froze them when I got home and will use them to make these Buffalo Chicken Burgers next week!
Bonus Tip: At the end of your grocery trip, look at your cart and remove at least 1 thing and put it back!
I heard this a few years ago and it really does work. I don’t do this EVERY time I go to the store, sometimes I forget. But typically when you go to the store you’ll throw a few extra items in the cart (especially if you don’t do #1) and inevitably some items may make their way into the cart that you don’t necessarily HAVE to have today. So you may be saving yourself a few dollars on this trip, but those few dollars will only add up over time!
I hope you’ve found this help and I hope it saves you money on your next grocery trip!! 🙂 And like anything else in life, small changes always add up to BIG changes over time!