How To Cut Down On The Monthly Grocery Budget
In our family the shopping budget is usually our largest expense of the month. I’m very financially savvy when it comes to money so this makes me particularly uncomfortable. I’m always trying to find new ways to better manage the family finance.
Although you can never have a “0” budget for groceries because then you would probably be dead from starvation, you can in fact reduce your overall grocery budget just by following these simples steps that I use all the time for our family.
1. Break down your budget
This for me works a treat in our family. It’s easy to get lost in your monthly budget and then as you get to the end of the month you find that you only have a small fraction of your budget left over.
I find it helpful to break my monthly grocery budget down into weekly sections this way I feel as though I have better control over what I am spending.
2. Never shop on an empty stomach
This should go without saying really. I know I have certainly been guilty of it on several occasions.
There have been times I have gone to the supermarket famished and suddenly all the cakes, chocolates and fizzy pop start speaking to my subconscious. It usually ends up being a battle of the wills, my stomachs will against my brains will. Sadly the stomach usually wins.
If you succumb to this temptation sadly your grocery budget will take a massive hit. The worst part of this is that those cakes won’t even fill you for long and before you know it you’ll be looking for something else to eat again.
3. Meal plan ahead of time
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Make a list of which foods your family will eat through the week to make sure you have all the ingredients to hand. Remember if you fail to do this you will have to go shopping again on another occasion to pick up the forgotten items and I can almost guarantee you, you won’t walk out with just the one item!
Poof! There goes your budget. You can also try to alternate and make budget meals one day and more “jazzy” meals on another day. Another great thing you can do is to repurpose meals. For example if you have left over chicken from the night before turn it into a chicken salad or sandwiches for lunch. Be adventurous!
4. Cut back on unhealthy foods
Right here is my Achilles heel. I’m a grab it and go type person so I like to grab things that are quick and easy. Don’t tell my children but i’m quite partial to a piece of chocolate when I’m hungry. I will never admit that to my children whom I always tell that chocolate is not food.
These high sugar content items tend to lift you up for a moment then drop you down like a lead balloon afterwards. Eating more healthy will ensure that hunger is kept at bay for longer periods and will stop you from raiding the fridge at every opportunity. In the long run unhealthy foods tend to cost more over time as they are short-lived as bodily nutrients.
5. Hunt down grocery deals in the supermarket
This I am genius at! Hey credit where credit is due and all that. It’s no secret that my husband would rather do a stack load of dishes rather than go grocery shopping with me.
I love to hunt down deals in the supermarket. I’m always on the look out for buy one get one free or half price on this or that. I love the challenge of finding the most cost-effective item. I will boldly get out my calculator to make sure I am getting a good deal on the offer.
My husband on the other hand would rather walk into the shop see the item on the shelf, pick it up then leave. Nooooo! Don’t be like my husband. Needless to say I do all the shopping in our family. These offers can save you huge amounts on your grocery budget if you do it the right way.
6. Use discount vouchers
Always be on the look out for vouchers. Sometimes the supermarket will hand out newspapers at the end of your shop that will give you discounts on certain food items the next time you go shopping. Cut these out and keep them in your purse.
Make sure you understand the terms on these vouchers too as they can sometimes be a little tricky. Sometimes they require you to purchase it along side something else or perhaps it may have a very short expiry date. Either way just understand the terms and conditions of the voucher before you get to the till so you don’t get any nasty surprises.
7. Always have a shopping list
I can’t begin to tell you how important this is. Without a shopping list you could literally be buying anything and forgetting everything all at the same time. Having a well prepared shopping list will keep you on track for what you really do need at home in the cupboards.
8. Bulk buy some things
Bulk buying items is a great way to make future savings but there is a very fine line here because if you over bulk buy you run the risk of then having cash flow problems in your budget. It’s a very fine line so tread with caution.
9. Make juices a special treat
Who doesn’t love juices? Juices are great but they can be very expensive especially if you are trying to cut down your grocery budget.
Opt for drinking water instead and make juices a special treat. Water is much healthier too so its kind of a win win situation really.
10. Shop online if you can
Shopping online is great because there is less opportunity to window shop and besides you can’t get the smell of the freshly baked cakes over the internet connection meaning that you have much less chance of impulse buying.
You can get your items delivered by your local supermarket or if you are desperate for some items amazon prime is great for quick delivery of essentials. Amazon can even offer you a free 30 day trial.
Do you have any other great tips for reducing your grocery budget? I would love to hear them!