Sticking to a budget while grocery shopping for a large family can sometimes be difficult. Food prices are going higher at a rate faster than our income! I told you how we do our grocery shopping, but sometimes the bigger question is how do we stay within our budget? Here's a few tips I've learned over the years...
- Make A Budget! I know this sounds like a no~brainer, but sadly I went for years just getting groceries and had no idea how much we were spending at the end of the month!
- Use coupons! I don't go crazy with the coupons, but I do use them. We get a flyer in our Saturday paper, and my parents get 2 papers with the weekly coupons that they give to me. When I have time (!) I go through them and put them into my coupon organizer. Our local stores are beginning to accept internet coupons now, so I'll look up coupons at my Inbox Dollars account. They use coupons from Coupons.com plus I get 10cents back for every coupon I use.
- Make a menu then make a grocery list. When I was first married, I just went to the store and got "stuff". Then when it was time to make a meal, I'd be rummaging through our cabinets trying to find enough ingredients to make something. Now I always know what we are going to have for supper, and I know that we have the ingredients to make it. This is not only a money saver, but a time saver as well!
- Keep track while you are shopping. I write down the amount of items right on my list and keep a running tab so I know what my total so far is. If I am getting close to or over my limit, I start re~evaluating things. Sometimes I do go over, but then the next time I need to go under. It's about balance sometimes.
- Know what is cheaper. We've all been told that the larger item is usually cheaper. But what if that item is more than your williing to spend at the moment? A larger box of cereal may be cheaper per ounce, but if it is $3 more and would put me over budget, is it worth it? Sometimes yes, but not always!
- Have a meatless meal once (or more) a week. Our favorite is breakfast for supper~scrambled eggs and potatoes or french toast.
- Buy items when they are close~dated. One of our local stores will drop the price drastically when things are a day or two to expiration. This can be a great deal. I recently found greek yogurt (usually over $1 per cup) that was 2 days to expiration for 20 cents each. I grabbed all of them. Our kids enjoy yogurt, and we had them gone before expiring. If there is something that can be frozen, buy it and freeze it!
- Use discount stores. We go to Aldi's to stock up on staples, produce, and dairy once a month or so. The prices are so much cheaper than the grocery store, and it is the same quality products.
- Don't be a food snob! I admit to this recently. I got so caught up in only buying "healthy" foods that I was going way over budget in the name of health! There needs to be a balance here, too! Yes, I want to serve my family good, healthy foods, but we don't need to loose the house in order to do it. Since I rarely serve processed foods, I am more in control of how nutritious our foods are. We sometimes eat store~bought white bread. But it is balanced with other healthy choices. And I am OK with that right now!
- Grow it yourself! Start a garden and grow your own vegetables. You don't need to have a huge yard to do this either. For several years, I had a garden along the side of our garage. It wasn't huge, but it gave us some great tomatoes, peppers, beans and onions. This year hubby made me a good size garden, but because of the drought, we didn't get much produce. Hopefully next year will be better and I will be able to can our vegetables. There is something so satisfying about eating your own produce.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God"
1 Corinthians 10:31