Happy Thursday! Ever since we made the decision that I wouldn’t be returning to my job after having Declan, we have gotten pretty serious about budgeting. Luckily, we were gifted Dave Ramsey’s book and DVD set and have used his method to pay off debt, save, and we try to budget our money wisely… Most of the time 🙂 Some weeks are better than others but we really try to stick to our budgets as much as possible. For this reason, I have a grocery budget and plan our meals according to that budget. This may seem limiting to some but I find it to be just the opposite. It’s comforting to me to know what I am spending, buying, and cooking at the beginning of the week. Here are some tips that I use to stick to a grocery budget:
- Have a plan! Make a meal plan for the week and then clean out your refrigerator. I try to do this on Sundays so I know exactly what I need for the week. I can’t tell you how many times I have over or under bought an ingredient because I didn’t clean out my fridge so I wasn’t sure what I had. Nothing worse than finding a whole bag of carrots as you put your new bag of carrots in the fridge… That might have happened to me a few weeks ago lol.
- Buy meat in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco. This membership is so worth it to me. Anytime I have a little extra in the grocery budget that I won’t be using, I head to Sam’s and buy an extra pack of meat for the freezer. I personally really like the ground beef that they sell in six 1lb packages, it makes thawing so easy to just be able to pull one package out at a time. When they don’t have that item, I just buy a large tray and portion it out into 1lb bags before I put it in the freezer. If Colin works overtime and we have extra cash in the budget, I will buy a whole case of chicken breasts, prep them into meals, and freeze them until we need them. Buying extra meat on weeks where there is extra is so helpful on the weeks that are tight. I also buy all of our toilet paper and garbage bags at Sam’s. Even with couponing, which I will talk about shortly, you really aren’t going to get a better deal on garbage bags and I like that I can stock up on toilet paper when it is on their Instant Savings program and forget about it for months. Sam’s has great produce but the majority of it comes in bags that are too much for our small family and we wind up wasting which makes me die inside a little lol. Because of this, most of our produce comes from Wal-Mart but if you have a larger family, Sam’s produce quality and price is better!
- Wal-Mart Grocery Pick Up. I feel like Wal-Mart Grocery pick up was made just for me 🙂 On weeks that I don’t utilize it, I ALWAYS overspend. If I step foot in the grocery store, I spend more than budgeted every single time and it’s normally on junk food. Grocery pick up lets me order from my laptop after I put Declan to bed, when I’m not hungry, and pick it up the next morning. It also shows your total as you add things to the cart so it’s really easy to stay on budget. Kroger also has this service called Click List, but they charge a $3.99 convenience fee so I typically go to Wal-Mart. If you have never used Wal-Mart’s grocery pick up, you can click here to get $10 off of your first order! Yay for savings!
- Couponing! Now, it would take a whole blog post or even series of posts to go over exactly how to coupon so I can’t go into much detail here but I use coupons mainly for personal hygiene items. I don’t coupon every week anymore. At this point, I have a small stockpile of personal hygiene products and when that starts to get low, I will coupon again to build it back up. Couponing takes a lot of time and I totally give props to people who do it religiously every week but I just can’t do it. Having that stock pile saves money because I can normally get deodorant, body wash, lotion, baby wipes, etc for very close to free and that doesn’t take money away from my groceries every week! The only food that I typically use a coupon for is cereal. The boys go through a lot of cereal and I can normally find great deals with online coupons at Kroger and stock up. I recently bought Colin twelve boxes of cereal because it was on a great sale at Kroger with a coupon and that saves me money from my weekly grocery budget because I won’t have to buy cereal for awhile.
Tell me in the comments what tips help you stick to a grocery budget!