Keep your grocery budget in check with these three quick tips!
Guest post by Jessi Fearon of The Budget Mama
Groceries are usually one of the biggest expenses that most households have and if you’re like me, you’ve tried everything from extreme couponing to just “winging it.” However, once we switched to a clean-eating diet, using coupons regularly became a thing of the past since there aren’t many coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables.
And since we switched to a clean-eating diet, Aldi has become our favorite grocery store since we can literally get all our staple items for a fraction of the cost. However, I still wanted to save more and so there are few other things that we do that help us keep our grocery budget in check.
Notice, that I said that we’re keeping our grocery budget “in check” and not “low,” because I’m a firm believer that your grocery budget goal shouldn’t be the lowest number possible but the most realistic number possible for your family and your current lifestyle.
And these quick tips will help you do just that – keep your grocery budget in check no matter how low or high it may be.
Shopping with three kids under 4 years old will teach you to shop fast or risk having a major meltdown followed by something getting broken. So I shop no longer in each store (Aldi and Kroger) than 20 minutes. Even when I don’t have my kids with me, I set the timer on my phone for twenty minutes. This keeps me focused on my shopping list and not on everything shiny I past.
Next time you’re in the grocery store, set the timer on your phone for 20 minutes. It’ll be challenge especially if you’re used to browsing the aisles while shopping but over time, you’ll start see how shopping fast really does save you money.
I literally write down the prices of everything I purchase while still in the store. This way, I don’t go over our all-cash grocery budget. I know some folks just use the tally or tick mark system but my accountant brain likes to total everything up including the tax before checking out to make sure that I have exactly the right amount of money ready to hand over. And if you aren’t using cash while in the grocery store, I encourage you to give it a try. It makes sticking to your grocery budget a whole lot easier since you’re less likely to spend what you don’t actually have.
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Shop Once a Week
I will only go to the grocery store on Mondays. Period. And my family knows that if they eat everything in the pantry by Friday, we’ve got to get creative on things to eat for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning because I will not go to the store before then. This takes some adjusting to but once everyone realizes that grocery shopping is only happening once a week, the grocery list will start containing the things you actually need and want because no one wants to run out of food before “grocery day.”
That’s it. Nothing life shattering, just some things that I’ve done that have greatly improved our grocery budget. If you’ve never created a budget before or aren’t even sure what a grocery budget is, you can read more about setting up a budget here.
I’d love to hear what tips you have for keeping your grocery budget in check – especially those that don’t involve coupons!
Jessi Fearon is the blogger behind the money-management blog, TheBudgetMama.com, where she shares her family’s real life on a budget in all its gory details. Her and husband have paid off over $55,000 of debt in just over two years and are passionate about inspiring others to practice better money manage principles and take the journey towards debt-freedom.