Maximizing Your Budget: Groceries
On Saturday morning, as the boys are still snoozing, you’ll find me at the grocery store. Shopping for a family of five is no small (or inexpensive) endeavor, and requires some upfront planning. To save money, I plan out the menu for the week around our crazy schedule to ensure I’m not buying things we don’t need. On Sunday, I prep a few meals for the week, which saves me time. Interested in meal prepping? You can read my full post about it here.
Through generations of penny-pinchers, I have learned a thing or two about saving on groceries, so here are my suggestions:
- – For the fruits and vegetables we don’t grow in the garden, we buy. I prep them as soon as I get home to prevent waste. All chopped and ready to go, you can throw them in the evening’s dinner or use them as snacks. This also helps to ensure you don’t overbuy.
- – If you’ve never bought a piece of produce only to find mold on it the next day, you’re simply lucky. The same applies to milk that spoils before the expiration date. Hang on to your receipts, and take these products back.
- – Do your own version of the Food Network show “Chopped,” creating dishes only from what you have on hand. Google a few main ingredients you have on hand and add the word “recipe” to the search bar. See what comes up and live on the edge. This helps to expand palates and learn to cook a variety of dishes and cuisines.
- – If you have a large family, it’s better to buy in bulk – just make sure you have storage space and can consume the food fast enough to avoid waste.
- – Try making a large recipe and freezing the leftovers, rather than storing them in the refrigerator to be forgotten. You’ll thank me one day when you just feel like reheating.
- – Check out the discounted items – yes, even the meat – and take advantage of the savings.
- – If you have the time, make the product or ingredient (e.g., bread, cookies, taco/spaghetti seasoning mix, sauces, chicken and beef broth, etc.).
- – Make use of coupons, both online and in the direct mail ads.
- – Reduce your consumption of expensive non-essential items (e.g., pop, alcohol, ice cream).
- – To avoid impulse purchases, I give the cart the once-over before going through the check-out line and put anything we really do not need back on the shelves.
The list goes on and on. Every family’s needs are different. What do you eliminate from your weekly shopping list or make yourself? Let me know. I’m always up for new ideas!