My wife and I have a grocery budget of $200 per month. While preparing our budget, I spent many hours looking over what a typical family spends at the grocery store and aimed lower. We’ve been very successful watching what we spend each time we visit the store. I do all the shopping because for one, my wife says I’m good at it and and two because I do most of the cooking. If I can do it, you can do it! Yes gentlemen, it’s OK to go grocery shopping.
There are many ways to save money while eating healthy (relatively) and without being limited to beans, rice and ramen noodles (the good old college diet we all remember). I’d like to share a few tips on how to save money at the grocery store to get everyone started and I will continue the series in the future. So stay tuned!
1. Plan your meals first and make a list! There are so many temptations when you start shopping without a plan. By planning your meals ahead of time, you will limit any impulse buys that will send you over your food budget. Stick to the list! After time, you will get a feel for what a meal will cost. This will help you to plan better for what meals work good together during the week. A good tip is to make sure the items you purchase can be shared to eliminate any waste. I don’t feel we ever get in a mundane meal routine when we do this either.
2. Go grocery shopping one day a week. I go shopping every Wednesday. Most stores have double (or triple) coupon days and my local supermarket (Pick ‘N Save) has them on Wednesdays. I’m thankful they are still continuing the program as I have heard that some stores, because of the economy, are no longer offering coupon doubling. Another reason to go shopping once a week allows you to limit your purchases. Sometimes if you make several trips to the store for odds and ends, the grocery bill racks up quickly. There is no hard fast rule of what you have to spend in terms of your budget, but I usually stick to less than $50 a week until the end of the month.
3. Only buy items that are on sale or go with store brands. This is also a great opportunity to buy in bulk for items you use regularly (as long as they are non-perishable). Be sure to look over the weekly store flyer to help you build your shopping list for the week. After time, you see patterns of when items go on sale so this enables you to plan even more! I haven’t found an item that has never gone on sale (and that includes any and all kinds of meat)!
I did well for the last shopping week in January and we came under our budget once again (around $30 under in fact). This weeks shopping trip cost a total of $62.65 for 46 items which should be enough for 10 days worth of meals for both of us. Best part? I saved $46 with coupons and discounted items.
Stay tuned for additional grocery shopping tips!