So you’ve decided to set a grocery budget to corral that spending at the grocery store. If you’re like me (and I’m betting that you are, even if just a bit) you may struggle with sticking to that budget. It’s easy to overspend, especially when you have kids who are asking for things that might put you over budget. Or maybe you start out with good intentions. But find that halfway through the month your grocery budget is gone and you now have to overspend. Ya gotta eat, right?!?!
Here are a few steps to help you stay within your grocery budget:
- Set a monthly amount to spend on groceries, and then put the cash in an envelope – this will make it easier to stick to your budget. You won’t be spending more than you intend by using your debit card to pay for groceries. And DO NOT use credit cards to pay for groceries! Why in the world would you want to buy a gallon of milk this week and be paying interest on it 6 months later?!?! Oh, I know – the “points” and other goodies offered by the credit card companies. GET OVER THAT! It’s not worth it. Personally, I’d rather have the extra cash I DON’T spend in my pocket than the promise of “points” on my credit card. But maybe that’s just me.
- Make a weekly meal plan – if you have a plan, you will be better able to stick to your grocery budget. A weekly plan will help you know what to fix for dinner each day. It will lessen you impulsively stopping for fast food or pizza on your way home from work, etc. Here are some resources that you can use: 15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning, Meal Planning: Save Time In The Kitchen
- Look for sales and coupons that you can take advantage of at the store – look through the ads for local stores in the paper, or in newspaper inserts. You can use these sales to help with your weekly meal plan. Weekly sales can lead to ideas for inexpensive meals for that week. Also, check the newspaper or websites for coupons that you can use. Some useful websites where you can find and print coupons: www.smartsource.com, www.coupons.com, and www.redplum.com
- Make a list, and stick to it – the best way to blow your food budget is to go shopping without a list. Your list will keep you on track, and (if you stick to it) will make sure that you don’t overspend on items that you don’t need. You might think you need them, because you want them in the moment when you see them on the shelves. But they are impulse purchases, and they will ruin your grocery budget.
- Go grocery shopping once a week – don’t make a trip to the store every day, or every other day. Don’t run to the grocery store for one or two items that have suddenly run out. If you make a list, you will be able to get what you need when you make your weekly shopping trip, and not overspend. Remember, the less time you spend in the store the less chance you have of overspending on your grocery budget.
What are your favorite tips for saving money, and staying within your grocery budget? Share them with us! Use the comments section to add your favorite tip, or if you have a post about grocery budgets – share the link. Your ideas can help the rest of us. 🙂