No Spendtember: Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Second to our mortgage, the category that we spend the most money on every month is FOOD. There are only two of us, but we spend so much money on groceries and eating out every month. Like so much, it's almost embarrassing. 

I think the worst part is that we legitimately do try to spend wisely at the grocery store. Our goal is $20 a day on food. Not that this should be hard to meet, but John is pretty good at sticking to this budget. On the rare occasion that I go grocery shopping, the cost triples. I don't know why, but I literally cannot go to the grocery store without spending at least $50+. That's why I don't do the grocery shopping in our house.

My husband is currently out of commission due to a recent ankle surgery, so I've had to step up and start doing the grocery shopping. I'm failing miserably at staying on budget, so I've decided to research the best ways to grocery shop on a budget.  

Buy in Bulk
There are only two of us in our house, so it is really hard to buy in bulk. In other words, the freezer is our friend. One of our main issues is that we buy a different type of meat every night {because we don't plan ahead}. Ideally, we should be purchasing ground beef, chicken and turkey in bulk at Costco, then splitting it up into meals and freezing it for the future. Always buy up items that won't expire and that you know you'll always use. For example: cereal, Mac & Cheese, paper goods, sandwich bags, etc. Pretty much, if you know you're getting the best deal possible and if you can store it, then buy it. It will cost more up front, but will save lots of money in the long run. 

Plan Ahead
Meal planning is one of the most important aspects of grocery shopping on a budget. Our main problem is that we don't plan ahead. Instead, we go grocery shopping every single day. Every afternoon we go through the "What do you want for dinner?" routine. This results in wasted food and lots of grocery shopping. There are some great meal planning guides on Pinterest that can help outline daily meals, ingredients and help prepare your budget. I've been compiling a Pinterest board of money saving tips that has some great meal planning tips on it.

Make it Last
Make leftovers! There is nothing worse for your budget than making a large meal for dinner and not having leftovers for lunch. Going out to lunch adds up so quickly. Since my husband and I work together, when we don't plan ahead, it usually costs about $20 to feed us lunch. If we boil extra noodles or BBQ additional hamburgers the night before, then we can eliminate this additional expense. 

Making leftovers that you can freeze or eat night after night is even better. If you're going to go through the process of making enchiladas, then make multiple plates. Spaghetti? Make a huge pot of sauce that you can use in a lasagna as well.

Buy Off-Brand
I'll be the first to admit that I often avoid off-brand products. I don't know why. I'm just really picky and don't want to risk wasting money on something I won't eat. For example, I'd much rather pay for "real" Cheerios than Safeway Select. Since I know that this is totally ridiculous, I bought Safeway Select instant oatmeal the other day instead of Quaker. Guess what? You can't tell the difference. You will be able to save a lot of money by buying off-brand groceries.

I admit that I don't use coupons at the grocery store. It's hard to organize and keep up with them. I'm sure you understand. If you shop at Safeway, make sure to check out the Just For U app that allows you to pre-load coupons so that you automatically receive savings at the register when you swipe your card. Again check out my Pinterest board of money saving tips for some great coupon organizing ideas.

How are you doing in No Spendtember? Have you set a budget? Stuck to the plan? If you fall off the wagon, just jump right back on!

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Thank you for stopping by, I love hearing your comments! xo.xo. Hilary