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Grocery Budget Tips

My recent blog, Part 1: The 3 I’s and your Budget, focused on the I of Inflation and specifically talked about the cost of groceries. We all have to eat so the grocery category in our budget is essential. I further spoke about that with the increase in the cost of groceries, something else in the budget has to give or you need to increase your income. The most common casualty when something in the budget needs to give is saving. People generally don’t want to have to inconvenience themselves by reducing what they spend in another category (such as entertainment, etc) and they erroneously convince themselves that they have plenty of time to save later. However, it does make a difference in the end. For example, if you are 35 and you are investing (saving) $200/month and you do that until age 65, you will have about $282,000. However, if you tell yourself you can wait and start doing that at 45 and you invest $200/month from 45 to 65, you will only have about $114,000. So for a $24,000 additional savings (10 years at $200 per month), you gain an additional $168,000! This is why it’s important to make the budget work and continue saving!

When we think of saving money on groceries, we tend to immediately think about coupons. While coupons can be a great way to save money on groceries, there are other ways to keep that grocery budget in line! Here are my top tips to keeping your grocery budget in line:

  1. Meal Plan! I know I continue to beat this dead horse but it’s because it works! When you buy groceries without a plan, the likelihood of food waste increases dramatically. When you throw food out, you are essentially throwing money in the trash. Plus, when you don’t have a plan for dinner, you are more likely to eat out. Eating out kills the food budget, especially when you add on fees for delivery.

  2. Stock Up On Specials! We don’t have a Costco or anything similar in our county so I take advantage of weekly specials but buying certain things in bulk can also be a big savings (just make sure it is things you will consume and won’t end up throwing out). When I do my weekly grocery order, the first thing I check are the weekly specials. If items I use regularly, such as chicken breasts, are on special, I will buy extra and put them in the freezer. However, I don’t stock up on things that we don’t regularly eat because they are likely to end up being thrown out and that is just money wasted.

  3. Stay Organized! Keep your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer organized so that you only buy what you need. Plus it will keep items from getting lost, going bad, and then getting thrown out.

  4. Create a purpose for any “extras” so they don’t turn into food waste. For example, I purchased croissants for lunch sandwiches last week but we didn’t use them all so on Saturday I made french toast with them. Not a conventional french toast bread but they worked and it was quite good.

  5. Don’t be fooled by convenience. While things like mini bags of chips and lunch meat sliced at the deli are convenient, they are markedly more expensive per ounce. It only takes a little more effort to put chips in a container when packing lunch rather than just grabbing a mini bag of chips. Plus, you cut down on packaging waste when you use a re-usable container.

Want some more tips? Here are links to some more grocery budgeting blogs I have written:

You can download my meal planning templates HERE

And if you are ready to up your meal planning to meal prepping, check out my class:


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