Besides rent or your mortgage, what do you spend the most money on? For my household, it’s food. Grocery shopping used to be my favorite part of the week. I would go to the grocery store, grab a bunch of stuff, get home with tons of food and call it a day. Simple, quick, and easy! Everything was great until I realized I didn’t do such a great job at the store. Just a few days later we would be out of food. Not only was I buying a lot of junk food and expecting it to last, I was spending tons of money! So I set out to figure out a better way to grocery shop. Here are some tips on how to maximize your budget while grocery shopping.
This is at the top of the list for a very good reason. Meal planning is essential if you want to stick to your budget while grocery shopping. Every single time I head out to the grocery store without a list, I walk out wondering what the heck I spent $250 on. With a pre-selected meal plan for the week, you’ll be in and out of the store in no time. Not only will it take out less time of your day, but it will eliminate a lot of the miscellaneous stuff you end up buying.
SET A WEEKLY BUDGET AMOUNT
You may have a monthly budget amount for groceries but it’s better to divide that into a weekly budget. Instead of budgeting $400 for the month, give yourself a weekly or bi-weekly budget to stick to. Monthly budgeting is great, but if you end up spending $200 the first week, it will be much more difficult to stick to $200 for the next three weeks. However, If you buy monthly items such as soap, paper towels, and soap, you can subtract it from the monthly budget instead.
BUDGET EACH ITEM
This may sound like a waste of time. I know how tedious making a list and meal plan is already, but this can make a huge difference! If you’re trying to stick to a strict budget, giving yourself strict limitations is the way to go. While writing out your grocery list, next to each item write down a rough number for each item. That way you can cut out some non-essentials before you get to the store and are in a rush to get home.
This one is super important too. I know we live in a world of plastic, but cash is always king, right? When you hand someone cash, sometimes it has a more direct impact on us than swiping a card. Not only that but if you only take a specific amount of cash, it holds you accountable to spend only the money you have. By only taking what you need you’ll be able to stick to the budget more efficiently.
I’m not an extreme-couponer and don’t think I ever will be. It takes an insane amount of time and organization and I don’t know that I can fit that into my schedule. Instead of clipping coupons and going through online ads, newspapers, and store ads, just keep an eye out. Try to look out for those coupons hanging off of shelves and take a quick look at the store’s ad when you walk in. Saving a little here and there never hurts!
If you’re having a hard time stick to a grocery budget, look no further. With a few simple steps, your next grocery shopping trip will be a breeze. What are some of your favorite tips to save money while grocery shopping? Leave your comments below!