Over the years I have tried time and time again to budget. I actually really enjoy the math, and if budgeting is something you need to do (and don’t necessarily love the math) I highly suggest Every Dollar. But I digress. This is specifically about saving money on groceries.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I receive compensation or commission for clicks and sales. I personally test and review all products before sharing them with my readers. 11 Shades of Pink is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.
When I started setting up our budget I did a quick Google search to see what I should expect to spend on certain things. Obviously I know how much my rent is, and we have plenty of other set expenses, but groceries are a little more obscure. I found a lot of different answers on what I should expect to pay for groceries, but all of them left me a little flabbergasted. For a family of two the low end was supposedly around $400. Up until November 2016 I ate most of my meals at work, so even though Ryan and I still shared a lot of our meals, I doubt we spent more than $200 a month on groceries, and we probably only went shopping once a month.
But that changed when I left my food service job. We started going grocery shopping every two weeks and I knew we were going to have to do something about excessive spending on groceries. In general we were spending about $175 every time we went shopping, it’s still lower than $400 a month, but only by about $50. We could definitely save more.
There’s always food in our cabinets, in fact a lot of it ends up going bad. Especially fresh fruits and veggies… you know the stuff that we should actually be eating a lot of. So I needed a way to minimize our losses. Why spend so much money on food that is going bad before we can even eat it?
We started eating at home more.
Obviously, this saves us money because cooking is way cheaper than restaurants. However, it also saves us a ton of money since it doesn’t give our food a chance to go bad.
I don’t buy groceries we don’t need.
Meal planning is hard because you never know what you’re going to be in the mood for. Turkey chili might sound great while you’re planning, but when you actually get to the day you planned it for you think “turkey chili? What was I thinking?!” The solution for me is to not set specific meals for specific days. Meal planning is still incredibly important (and a huge money saver!) I come up with about 12 meals that we can eat throughout two weeks and some general ideas for lunch. I plan meals, make a list, and the only things we buy outside of that list is a few snacks.
We shop discounts.
Whenever we visit my parents we make sure to take a trip to the “used food store”. It’s actually a place that sells damaged, expired/close to expired goods. Which means big discounts. We also started shopping at Aldi… which I’ve known about for a long time. I always forget about it since it’s kind of small and out of the way. BUT doing as much of our shopping there as possible saved us at least $40 on our last shopping trip. I also don’t buy name brand products unless I know they’re actually better than off-brand counter parts (for example I only buy Kraft Original Mac and Cheese).
We eat leftovers.
Let’s be honest, there are nights that you just don’t feel like cooking. You don’t have time, you’re tired, you just don’t want to. On these nights it’s easy to grab fast food, go out, pick up a microwave dinner, or snack aimlessly on whatever we have around. We save all our leftovers. I generally make enough that I know we’ll get at least one leftover meal out of it. I don’t just set that aside either. I’ve been learning mindful eating and Ryan eats slowly and hardly ever finishes his meal. We take the food from our plates and save it too… there’s no reason not to. Maybe with kids this might not be a great plan, but it works well for us!
I use apps
Cartwheel, Ibotta, etc. There’s a ton of apps out there that can help you save. I recently downloaded the Krazy Coupon Lady app and I’m excited to see how we can save!
If you enjoyed this post check out my Creamy Ranch Chicken and Roasted Potatoes Recipe
If you enjoyed this post or have ideas or questions please leave a comment and share this post on your favorite social media platform! Then slide on down to my social media links and follow my profiles and sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date with my newest posts!