Aside from your mortgage, your biggest monthly expense is likely groceries. (I know it is at our house) And unlike your mortgage, your car payment and most of the rest of your bills you actually have some control over how much you spend at the grocery store.
Make a Grocery Budget
Start by tracking how much youre spending on groceries for a few weeks. From there, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. Allot that money for groceries and whatever you do dont go over. Next, try cutting back your budget by $20 per month. Keep going and see how low you can go. The remaining tips will help you do that without feeling like youre depriving yourself.
Keep A Price Book
Who doesnt love a bargain or a good deal? They are all over the store, but do you know if what they advertise as a good deal is actually saving you money? Keep a little notebook in your purse or keep a text document on your phone with the regular prices of the items you buy most often. Not only can you see if that cereal really is a deal, you can also determine what kitchen staple is cheapest where and adjust your shopping accordingly. Your price book will also come in handy when you browse through weekly grocery flyers. You can decide if a larger deal is worth driving to the store long before you ever set a foot out the door.
iSayre Secret: Check your city/town for a scratch and dent grocery store. We have one about 15 minutes from our house and go there often. When I shop I make multiple stops in the same area. Scratch and dent is always first. The deals are generally better than anywhere else on the staple items.
Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes
You don’t have to make drastic changes and eat nothing but rice and beans all week. Instead think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys. They may be rice and beans. Or how about a big pot of soup or chili. Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet, or use meat in small portions on frugal dish days. Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month combined with using up any and all leftovers will make a big difference in your grocery budget.
iSayre Secret: I have been using a program called Cookn for the last few years. They have gone to a subscription service model (and its still worth it with three different tiers to choose from) and so I am trying out a one-off purchase with an app called Paprika (on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad). So far so good. I cant say that I won’t ever return to Cook’n, but for now I’m using Paprika for all my recipe storage and meal planning. Both apps I mentioned have Windows versions as well.
Cut Out The Extras
Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. _(I have found going to the store alone is a money saver. I can take my time and price match, et cetera with nobody nagging me to hurry up)._All those little extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the candy you grabbed at checkout start to add up. Get in the habit of skipping those extras unless there’s a good reason to buy them. Stick to your list and you’ll cut your grocery bill by quite a bit each week. It’s amazing how all those little extras add up.
Give these tips a try and see if you don’t start to see big savings on a weekly basis. What you do with all the extra money each month is up to you. Save up for a fun summer vacation, pay off those credit cards or start building your financial safety net.