So, lately we have been budgeting $150 a week for groceries, and we always overspend. When I say “we” I mean “I” because I’m the one who grocery shops… 😛 This is a big black hole in our budget and I think most of it is my own fault for not planning very well. Grocery prices have gone up, but there are ways to save money that I have been lazy about.
My goal this week is to spend $100 or less. We have survived on $75 a week but that was a couple years ago… I also spent that little when Jamin was laid off. I really struggled with that amount to have enough food for us to feel like we were getting what we needed. And now, Joshua eats with us so I think that would be way too much of a stretch.
So, real quick I’m going to list some of the ways I’ve planned for groceries in the past and then, I’ll post what I ended up getting this weekend. I hope this post helps other people who are trying to bring their grocery budget down. It’s not easy!
Author : I-5 Design & Manufacture
- Pantry inventory.
The first thing I usually do (when I’m being good) is to make an inventory of the food we already have. I then enter all my ingredients into Supercook. From there I can see what dishes I can make and I’ll add those to my meal plan. This could be entrees or side dishes, breakfast, etc. I can usually get four meals from what we already have.
- Check the sales.
I try to only get things that are in the ad, and especially items that are on the front and back pages. Those are typically the best deals that stores put out to get you into the store 😉
- Match coupons to sale items.
I haven’t been doing this one too much, because we haven’t had a working printer. Money Saving Mom has a coupon database so I can easily search for specific items or types of food to try to find coupon matches. I’ve also been using the Ibotta app. The app gives you rebates on products, so you don’t get the savings right away, but it still makes for some good deals.
- Shop at Grocery Outlet.
I only started shopping here last year, and I wish I had tried it out sooner! There area few items that aren’t that much cheaper than what you would find at the regular grocery stores. Dairy items are usually the most discounted because of their short shelf life. I used to really like Lara bars, and they were getting some in pretty frequently at a great price. However, Lara bar’s recipe changed and they now add sugar (boo).
Produce is sometimes cheaper, but mostly it’s equivalent to what I would find elsewhere. I do try to shop here first, though, and get what I can at what I know is a really good deal.
I have a pretty good idea of the things we like for meals and staples, so I go by that to decide what to buy.
- Discounted food
I always check out Safeway’s discount sections. 50% off, and I can use coupons because the 50% off is a store coupon. They sometimes have diapers in the discount section when they change packaging or the package gets ripped. I definitely snatch those up! And again, stack with a coupon 😀
- Stock up.
I’m not quite sure how I will do this. But, if there is a good deal on something we normally use I would like to buy multiples. It is something that saves money if you plan well. So, I thought I would throw that out there as something I’ll be doing at some point.
- Meal Plan
The last step is to plan out all of our meals with what I’ve purchased. Even snacks. Having a plan ahead of time makes it easier to get food on the table. And makes us less tempted to just order take out. If I could also get some meals in the freezer, that would be even better! Not everything is good for the freezer, though.