A large portion of my frugal lifestyle is dedicated to what I eat. Since I’m trying to save aggressively and cut back on expenses, the grocery bill can definitely become an obstacle.
Luckily I’ve learned how to successfully cut my grocery budget down to just $300 for my family of three and stick to it each month. I’m aware that this is somewhat low, but I’ve seen lower and I’ve seen higher with some people spending $700+ each month on groceries alone, but it works for my family and we are eating pretty well. By no means are we skimping on portions, cutting out meals or on the edge of starvation.
I personally love food and no matter how much debt I’m in I could never compromise my love for good quality food. I didn’t try to break down exactly how much money goes toward specific categories of our grocery budget like breakfast foods, snacks, and produce for example, but I can share how we stay within our grocery budget and tips to cut your own grocery bill. Enjoy!
Check Out Newspaper Ads
Those weekly ads from local grocery stores are sent to your house for a reason; So you can actually utilize them! It only takes a few minutes to browse through the weekly ads to see fruits, meats and other items that are on sale that might interest you.
Plan Meals, Make a Grocery List
Meal planning is essential if you want to cut your grocery bill down. Not to mention, making a detailed grocery list of exactly what you plan to buy can prevent you from spending too much time in the store as well. I used to hate when I didn’t make shopping lists because I would always find myself wandering around the store for well over an hour picking up extra crap that I knew I didn’t need. Making a list keeps you organized and on track with your budget.
I absolutely love meal planning but it takes a certain level of creativity to be able to switch things up so you’re not eating the same thing over and over. I check out food blogs for inspiration and I’m always up to try something new. This allows my family and I to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of variety.
If meal planning and prep isn’t your forte, I’d highly recommend signing up for the $5 Meal Plan. For just $5/month you’ll get healthy and affordable recipes and shopping lists delivered to your inbox weekly. The $5 Meal Plan also has gluten-free and picky eater-friendly recipes, plus you can try it out for free for 2 weeks. You’ll love it!
Cook Your Meals
I know this sounds obvious, but you actually have to cook your food if you want to save money on groceries. Buying ingredients and cooking your food is not only healthier than buying frozen processed food at the store, but it’s cheaper too. I love to cook and discover new recipes but you don’t have to be Betty Crocker to do it either. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore if you don’t make it one. There are plenty of easy and quick recipes you can look up online and you can even alternate cooking nights with someone else in your household.
Limit Your Trips to the Store
When I make a shopping list I try to plan out meals and snacks to last us two weeks. This is one of the main reasons why I am able to keep my grocery bill so low. I really don’t like the crowded hustle and bustle of the grocery store anyway so shopping only twice a month is perfect for me. Limiting my trips to the store also limits the opportunities I have to overspend which helps me stay within the budget.
Buy Produce In Season
We love fruit in my house but let’s face it, there’s a season for everything. I love strawberries, cherries, and blueberries but in the winter they get super expensive, plus they don’t even taste good so there’s no need for me to spend extra money to buy over-ripe or under-ripe fruit.
Stockpiling is another crucial factor that helps me stay within my budget. I stock up on non-perishable goods, seasonings, condiments, flour, sugar, box cake mixes, pasta, dry beans, rice and anything else I know we will eat. Having a large stockpile allows me to be somewhat flexible with my meal planning and it also prevents me from having to run back to the store every week.
Since I have certain goods stocked up, I have the luxury of waiting until the next sale to stock up on that item again. You can also stock up on meat and other produce as well since you can freeze meat for several months. You’ll just need more storage space like a deep freezer.
Buy In Bulk
If you know you eat a lot of something, buy it in bulk! I love my Sam’s Club membership (even though I don’t use it every single month) because I can stock up on some of our favorite foods for less.
I used to coupon and I’d like to get back into it. But since I haven’t done it much lately I can’t count couponing as a current factor that helps me cut my grocery bill down to $300/month. But couponing is an effective way to save money on items at the grocery store if you do it correctly. Currently I’m on the lookout for coupons for natural, quality products as opposed to processed and frozen food.
Don’t Make Your Budget An Option
Another reason why I was able to stick to spending around $300/month for groceries for so long is because that used to be all the money we had set aside for food. So going over the budget wasn’t really an option. If you set a grocery budget/limit, and commit to it like you have no extra room in your monthly budget to overspend, you will be able to successfully cut your grocery bill down to a reasonable amount for you and your family.
This is how we eat delicious, nutritional and well-balanced meals while sticking to our monthly budget. Would you try any of these methods? What are you currently doing to cut your grocery bill?