Tips on How to Save Money on Your Grocery & Home Budget
First of all – if you are going to save money on your home and grocery budget then you need to write down how every penny is being spent.
Having it all in front of you in black and white really helps you to identify things you’re wasting your money on.
Download Your Simple Weekly Budget Sheet to Get Started WEEKLY SPENDING CHART
Why Keep a Household Budget?
It Tracks Where Your Money Is Going
A budget simply tracks your money. You record where the money comes from each month (your income) and then write out everything you spend it on, starting with your regular monthly bills like mortgage or rent, car payments, utility bills etc. What’s left after all the bills are paid is your discretional income.
Allows You To Be Proactive About Savings
Saving money without a budget is hard. We go in with the best of intentions at the beginning of the month, but somehow there isn’t anything left at the end of the month.
A budget gives you a chance to be a bit more proactive about saving money. Always set aside some money each week for savings, even if it’s just $20. Put it in the budget as a regular expense, just like you do with your other urgent bills. If you need to, open a separate savings account so you’re not tempted to spend it.
A Budget Ensures You’re Not Spending More Than You’re Making
Most importantly, your budget will keep you on track and help you make sure you’re not spending more than you’re making. And I don’t have to tell you that that’s pretty important for your financial wellbeing.
Helps to Build an Emergency Fund
We can’t stress this enough – every household needs an emergency fund to help them manage through those unexpected expenses. Setting up a short-term goal of even $20.00 per week is going to help your emergency fund get going. Aim to have a least $500.00 in “peace of mind” money tucked away.
Ways to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill and Home Budget
Don’t Shop Just One Store
Never stick to one store. Those days are long gone when we have to rely on just one store for all of our shopping needs. Ideally you should shop at about 3 different stores. Two of those stores you may only need to visit once a month to stock up on non-perishable items.
To save on waste, plan on food shopping twice a week. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t have a long shelf life and will go to waste in the back of your fridge. These are the foods that we need to eat to stay healthy not the bag of bagels that will last a month. So make TWO trips to the grocery store to buy fresh and healthy produce.
Foods To Buy and Stock that Will Save Money
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Brown Rice, Beans and Potatoes – these are starches that will take you a long way as far as stretching weekly meals. These are healthy carbs and considered nutritious. Don’t forget to add the sweet potato!
Fresh Green Leafy Vegetables – Different greens like fresh kale, collard greens, Swiss chard and spinach are not that expensive. Learn ways to cook these greens that your family will enjoy.
Peanut Butter – peanut butter goes a long way to stretch those family lunches and snacks.
Eggs – Always keep a large supply of eggs. Eggs are cheap and easy to prepare for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Oatmeal – Learn to love oatmeal for breakfast. Buy plain oatmeal and not the expensive packages. Add your own fruit or honey to the oatmeal to make it delicious and nutritious. Don’t forget the cinnamon.
Pasta – There are so many cheap and filling pasta dishes that are good for you. Always stock boxes of your favorite pastas.
Canned Tomatoes – Always have canned tomatoes and tomato sauce to whip up a quick & inexpensive meal. Think chili with ground beef, beans and tomato sauce.
Canned Meats – We love canned meats and you can buy these in bulk at Costco. Canned chicken can make some pretty interesting and delicious dinners.
Fresh Fruits – Slice some banana on your morning oatmeal and whip up some banana bread for school lunches. Fresh fruit is always cheaper than canned fruits and should be eaten every day.
Popcorn – Popcorn makes a great snack for very little money. Buy popcorn kernels and pop your own. You don’t even need a popcorn maker, just some popcorn and oil is all that is needed.
Coffee – Buy a decent coffee maker for your home that has a built in timer and make your own coffee. Buying coffee out just sucks the money right out of your pocket.
Flour/Sugar – Learn to make your own baked goods. Homemade cookies are much healthier than store bought and 1000 times cheaper. With flour you can also learn to make your own homemade pizza and bread!
What to Buy at the Dollar Store
Aluminum storage pans – When you make your favorite meals, double the portion size and freeze one to use later. Aluminum storage pans are so much cheaper at the dollar store and perfect for storing leftovers.
Gift Supplies – Cards and wrappings can get rather pricey. Your best bet is to keep stocked up on these items from the Dollar Store.
Back-to-School Supplies – Check your local Dollar Store first for great savings on all school supplies.
Holiday Decorations – The Dollar Store always has cute decorations for every holiday. Always stop in and check out their selection.
Kitchen Essentials – You can always find super buys at the Dollar Store for kitchen items like measuring cups, measuring spoons, colanders, plates, cups and some silverware. Lot’s of essentials to choose from.
Candles – All types of candles and candle holders.
What to Buy in Bulk at the Super Stores or Costco
- Paper Towels
- Aluminum Foil and Waxed Paper
- Toilet Paper
- Tooth Paste
- Laundry Detergent
- Dryer Sheets
- Dog Food
- Cleaning Supplies
- Bottled Water
- Chicken Broth
- Canned Chicken
- Garbage Bags
Keep Track of What you Spend at the Grocery Stores
OK… let’s see a show of hands. How many of you know how much money you spend on groceries per month?
A recent unscientific survey conducted outside a grocery store in San Francisco offered some surprising results. It doesn’t seem most people keep track of how much money they spend on groceries, because trips to the grocery store usually include non-food items such as health and beauty products, pet products, etc., and there are usually several trips per week. Who scrutinizes receipts? Do most of us go to the grocery store armed with a list of just the essentials? The answer is a resounding “NO!”
Don’t buy things that are on sale that you don’t need! Are you continuously purchasing unnecessary items? Do you use useless coupons thinking you will save money? Do you pick up two even though you only need one because there’s 2-fer sale, and never get around to using the second item? Never be tempted to waste money on things you will never use and don’t need!
Shop Local Farms – This trick is often overlooked and has so many benefits. Not only are you supporting local farms, but shopping Farmer’s Markets brings in so many options for cheaper fresh fruits and vegetables.
Be a Mark Down Expert – Most grocery stores typically mark down perishable items at a certain time each day. Perishable items include eggs, dairy, meats, produce and baked goods. You can find some great deals on these items if you learn to pay attention to mark down sales. Ask your super market manager what day he/she marks down specific items.
Food waste – A federal study conducted estimated that the average family of four throws away about 120 pounds of food each month in waste- that’s about 1 pound a day per person. Now where do you suppose some of those 120 pounds comes from? From buying food items that are only half used, not used at all, and eventually go to waste…literally. On average we waste about $2,300.00 per year. That is money that could be put into your emergency fund!
What does this mean to the average consumer? Very simply, it means you are spending your hard-earned money on food items that you just aren’t using.
Keep It Super Simple Just One Night A Week
Eating super simple one night a week will save money by the end of the month. If you are tempted to go through the drive-thru, look around your kitchen for some simple dinner ideas instead.
Plan All Of Your Meals – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
One thing we have control over is learning how to avoid wasting money by just following a few simple guidelines.
Here’s how, in a nutshell: Plan a menu for the week. Decide what meal you would like to prepare each night, and make your shopping list based on the items you need. Add the non-grocery items you need to that list as well but do not buy most of those at the grocery store.
Learn how to cook ahead on Sundays so you have healthy meals for lunch instead of spending money eating takeout. Plan your lunches the same way you would plan your evening meals.
Breakfast can easily be made in advance so that you have plenty of healthy choices to grab.
Do clip coupons. Just do yourself a favor, and only clip coupons for items you know you will use. Anything else is just a waste of your time.
Watch for sales, and buy multiple items if you have the room for them and know you will use them.
After several weeks, once you have mastered preparing the menu and shopping list, you will begin to see a pattern emerge. You should be spending about the same amount each week. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will be amazed at how much you can lower your grocery bill.
Learn How to Be Food Savy and Save Tons of Money