My family has a grocery budget of $65 per week. People ask me all the time HOW?!?!?! Well here is a list of my top 10 ways to save on groceries.
First- a few disclaimers:
- I don’t stick to my budget every week. Sometimes I’m under and sometimes I’m over but I do average $65.
- We do receive WIC for my 2 youngest, so really my out of pocket money per week is about $55.
- $65 is only for groceries. I buy all my paper products, diapers etc at drugstores and off Amazon.
- My tips will only work if you want them to. I would love to spend more per week on groceries, but my motivation is knowing that when I spend less, my husband can work less and we get more time together as a family.
- Don’t freak out if your budget is way over $65 a week, just make it a goal to spend a little less each week.
Ok Here are my top 10 ways to save:
1) Have a plan:
I make a “menu” each week so I know what we are eating for each meal. If there is a busy night I plan for a quick meal (quesadillas, salads, etc.). If I know we’ll be out during a meal time I pack a lunch and we have a picnic in the van or at a playground. This prevents us from being tempted by fast food! (See my post about Sideline Suppers for more dinner on the go ideas.)
2) Make a grocery list and stick to it!
My kids know if it’s not on the list we don’t buy it.
3) Use the sale ads.
Each week I scan the ads to see what’s on sale. You need to know your prices though so you know when you see a good deal. For example- I know that at least once a month Martins puts grapes on sale for 99 cents a lb, so that’s the only time we buy grapes. I post weekly deals for Food Lion on Thursday, and Martin’s on Fridays so be sure to follow me on Facebook to see these!
4) Stock up on sale items.
When you see a good deal, buy as much as can fit in your budget and pantry/freezer. For example- Easter is the time to buy hams. I will probably buy 4 or 5 and we’ll eat them until next Easter 🙂
Don’t buy pre-packaged things you can make or assemble yourself. Examples- microwave dinners, Lunchables, sauce mixes. Yes, it might take more time, but cooking is so much cheaper and usually healthier! You also can have leftovers for lunch the next day.
6) Learn to cook what you crave.
Early on we realized we spent a lot on eating out, so I just learned to cook some of our favorites!
Some things I’ve mastered to the point where I like mine just as much as a restaurant are pizza, steak, egg rolls, shrimp scampi, chicken marsala, cupcakes, fried chicken and french fries (<– my favorite food is french fries so it totally made sense financially to buy a deep fryer!)
7) Bribe yourself.
If I am under budget by the time I get to the end of my list I buy ice cream. If we are under budget at the end of the month we use that money to eat out.
This may not be for everyone, but we pretty much only drink milk, apple juice, tap water, and coffee. My husband loves soda, but we only buy it when it is less than 70 cents for a 2 liter. We do drink wine occasionally but it’s not a significant part of our grocery budget. We also don’t drink individually bottled juices, sports drinks or water.
9) Buffet Night
If you cook, you have leftovers and “buffet night” sounds so much better than leftovers. I line up all the containers into groups of “meat”, “healthy” and “other” and the kids have to pick one from each category. They think its fun!
I hardly ever clip the coupons from the newspaper for grocery items but I do check the store website for “load to card” ecoupons. Often, the store brand items often come out cheaper. I also use the app Ibotta to get cash back in the form of store gift cards.
Did you find this list helpful? Please share it with your friends!!