Have you noticed how much of your household budget goes toward groceries? Grocery shopping is a significant expense for most, but there are ways to make it more affordable.
Menu planning is integral to succeeding in managing this expense. In April we discovered just how important it really is. We didn’t have time to make our menu plan and shopping list and as a result spent almost as much on two on the fly meals as we did for the remaining planned meals.
Here are some money saving tips to use when grocery shopping on a budget:
- Plan your meals for the week before you shop and then buy what’s on the menu.
- When you do your menu plan, plan meals so that you have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. We did this yesterday.
- Check the store advertisements and price check while you’re preparing your menu plan. Take advantage of what is on sale and shop around for discounts on items you buy regularly while you’re at it. Use store and manufacturer coupons when you can.
- If you do clip coupons remember, it’s only a good buy if you will use it! That is true for sale items too. (Honestly, we rarely use coupons. We plan our meals around ‘real food’, fresh produce, etc. We never find coupons for those items.)
- Plan your meals using real food. It’s more healthy and much cheaper too. Convenience foods tend to be expensive and loaded with undesirable additives. It really matters what you eat.
- Go armed with your shopping list that results from your menu plan and stick to it.
- Shop only once a week or two weeks. We shop once every two weeks. We find that shopping for two weeks that we take advantage of the appropriate bulk items. Because we know which ones we can use before they go bad. Besides if you stop and at the store every day you’ll tend to spend more. Have you ever noticed how much a gallon of milk ends up ‘costing’. You never seem to leave with just what you went in for.
Other shopping tips:
- Don’t shop when your hungry. You’ll buy fewer snacks
- Shop when you have energy and aren’t worn out. It’s easier to focus and make wise choices. If you’re tired you tend to want to just get it over with and not pay attention to price.
- If you are tired shop in familiar stores. You’ll be able to get in and out with what you need quickly
- Only buy what you need and can afford or need; 3-for-1 is only a good deal if you can use three.
- This is an interesting tip. Wear headphones and listen to upbeat music while you shop. Stores intentionally play music with a slower beat to encourage shoppers to move more slowly through the aisles — and buy 29 percent more!
Making a menu plan doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, we are working on “Theme Weeks” for the weeks starting 6/19/2016, Latin food week, and 6/26/2016, Asian food week. During these weeks we will be accepting submissions for recipes and posting them for all to use. We will then build a menu plan for each week using the submissions and supplying a shopping list.
Join us and submit your own recipe. It will be fun!!!