Our grocery budget seemed like it was getting out of control when we went vegan. It spiked from just $200 to almost $400. That’s when I pulled a couple of tricks I learned from my mother out of our money saving bag. Here are 8 tips to help save you money!
Check your pantry. This should always be step one before you go shopping. You have no idea what could be lurking back there. It could be a gem or it could be rotten! We make sure that all of our canned food get rotated so that the earliest to expire is in the front.You also get to see what you use the most of. We always have rice and pasta on hand as well as crunchy taco shells. Other items that we consider pantry staples are beans (canned and dry), canned tomatoes, and canned veggies.Having basic items in our pantry lets us be creative with what we buy in the grocery store because we don’t need a whole lot of everything.
Check Sales Flyers. This is my favorite part because I love a bargain. We are lucky and get the three main grocery store flyers in the mail. If they don’t get mailed to you on a weekly basis, make a list of the store you shop at the most and check the flyers the day that the sales change. My favorite stores to shop at are Aldi, Reasors, and Sprouts. If possible, I take the ads with me and circle the items that I need.
Find a co-op. This has been a game changer for us. We found Bountiful Baskets at the recommendation of a friend. For our location, it is $19 a basket and you get fruits and veggies that are in season. It is SO worth the twenty bucks every two weeks. It has allowed us to try new things and it has saved us money! In the basket each week is easily $30 to $40 in fresh produce. Bountiful Baskets has lots of locations, so check their Facebook page to see if there is a site near you. This picture was from the first weekend in April. Yes, there is a box under there, and yes, it is full of pineapple!!! 😀 We spent less than $30 this week for our basket ($19) and the add-on of pineapple ($10 for 22lbs to be exact).
Meal planning. This is my mom’s secret. And her mom’s secret. This is how they both stayed sane and saved time and money when raising kids. We plan all of our meals on Sundays and again on Wednesdays (when sales change). We inventory our pantry and fridge and plan to buy as little as possible. It is great to come home from work, look at our menu and not have to worry about going back out to the store in bad traffic or have to come up with a meal on the fly. We used to fly by the seat of our pants and would eat out 2-3 times a week instead of cooking at home. We heard the “cha-ching” in our bank account when we started only eating out once a week or less.
Make a list. After you make your meal plan, write down the ingredients that you need. TAKE THE LIST TO THE STORE WITH YOU. I don’t know how many times we have made a list and then left it on the notepad at home when we went to the store. Don’t be us. The list keeps you on track and helps you not to impulse buy. If you are like me and are terrible about putting said list in your purse or pocket before you leave, as soon as you finish your grocery list, take a picture of it on your phone. I’m 95% less likely to forget my phone than I am a paper list.
Clip a few coupons. You don’t have to buy 20 Sunday papers to get coupons. With all the store apps and coupon websites, you can get coupons for free. If you are a Target shopper, I highly recommend the Cartwheel app. You can add percent off coupons to your barcode and redeem them at check out. They have also placed manufacturer coupons in the app too. Coupons.com is a whole website dedicated to getting you coupons! Browse through them before you shop to see if there is a coupon for any items on your list. My favorite coupon match-up site is The Krazy Coupon Lady. They have a fabulously updated site that lets you search deals by store.
Have a definite budget. We sit down at the beginning of the month and budget for every possible category. For groceries we budget $200-$250 a month and we stick to it. I know things will come up like you lose power and all the groceries in the fridge spoil or your husband doesn’t shut the fridge door and the cat eats all the produce. But we account for these things by spending less in another category.
Pick a day to go shopping. I shop on Sundays and Wednesdays. Why? That’s when ads and sales change. I try to never have to run to the store on another day to pick up something that we need. We already planned our meals and made our list. If we leave it off the list and forget to buy it on our shopping days then we never needed it in the first place. Or at least that’s how I look at it. 🙂
These are just some of the tips that I have been using to help save my family money on groceries. I could tell you all about couponing and how much money it saves me, but that’s for another day and I know using coupons isn’t for everyone.
I hope that you have found these tips helpful! What are some of the ways that your family saves money on their grocery bill?