$150 Grocery Budget
“You only spend $150 on groceries?”
“How do you ONLY spend that much on groceries?”
and my personal favorite…
“Can you teach me?!”
These are all examples of questions that I have heard from family members, close friends, and coworkers when they hear how much I spend on groceries. My simple answer to all of these questions is, “YES!”
I haven’t always planned menus and bought groceries according to that. When I first got married I would pick up things here and there that I thought we needed for some type of meal. When it came time to cook, I would walk into our little kitchen and say, “We don’t have anything to eat!” I would then make another grocery run. :/
I began to notice this trend within a year of getting married. Being the planner and budget-er that I am, I took action. I grabbed a piece of paper (nothing fancy) and started scrolling through Pinterest for meal ideas. I just started out with a week, but I quickly started planning for two weeks at a time.
Less time grocery shopping=a happy Lacee
See how I cut my $75 grocery budget in half here!
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The first step is to make a menu for the next two weeks of dinners. We take leftovers for our lunches or sandwiches. Breakfast is usually coffee and possibly a granola bar or oatmeal. On Saturdays we usually cook a big breakfast. The only nights that I think of for a “quick meal” are Wednesdays because of midweek church services. I usually plan for a crock pot meal on that night or something quick and simple. (Crock pot Love Board)
I like to sit down with some of my favorite cookbooks and browse through my favorite recipes on Pinterest. (Yummy Food Board) I pick out 14 meals for the next 14 nights. As I pick out a meal, I add the ingredients to my grocery list. Which leads to my next point.
I normally get a piece of notebook paper and make columns for the various sections in the grocery store (meat, dairy, cans, bread, vegetables, frozen). As I choose my meals, I add the ingredients needed to my grocery list. Now I use my meal planner/grocery list printable to organize it. 🙂
Next, I check my pantry for staples that I need to replace (Rotel, diced tomatoes, green chiles, COFFEE). Then I check my seasonings and other dry ingredients to see if any are running low and need to be replenished. Once I’ve inventoried my pantry and seasonings (which takes about 2 minutes), I’m ready for the next step.
“Coupons”…when people hear that word they either love it or hate it. I am not an extreme coupon-er. People who do that are super talented! There is no room to store many bulk items in my pantry so I don’t. I only use coupons that are sent to me in the mail.
Kroger is where I shop for my groceries because I love the fact that they send me customized coupons based on what I purchase in their stores. Other grocery stores do price match with ads so if you don’t have a Kroger where you live you can still get competitive prices for your groceries.
I gather my coupons and pick out the ones that save me money on what is already on my grocery list. I never add things just because I have a coupon for it. Once I have picked out my coupons, it’s time to hit the store! *Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.
Coupon Surfer is a great resource for finding coupons for items that you already planned on purchasing at your local grocery store.
Checkout 51 is another resource that you can use to search for coupons that will discount products that you are already purchasing. It is free to sign up!
If you don’t want to buy tons of spices that you will only use once or twice for a recipe then you should check out RawSpiceBar. This company sends FRESH ground spices to your house each month. The quantities are small, and you can customize the spices that you receive.
This last step seems to be the most simple, but this is where most people will say, “Peace out, this is NOT for me.” To stay on budget and to get the most out of your two weeks of meals that you spent precious time planning…you have to cook the meals. I know, I know, that takes time, but if you are going to see a difference in your budget then you have to have a little self control when it comes to eating out.
If you plan for two weeks of meals, but you eat out at restaurants 6 times during those two weeks then more than likely something that you bought will go bad, or you will be spending more money because you bought groceries AND ate out several times.
I am definitely not trying to hate on restaurants! My husband and I love date nights, and we love eating out (we love food in general), but we have practiced self control and really seen a difference in our finances. Since we are both teachers (go check out a teacher’s salary if you don’t know how much we typically make), we HAVE to have a budget. Especially if we want to go on nice vacations (Hello Kauai) and do other things that we enjoy.
Typically, we eat out once a week, but sometimes we don’t eat out at all and eat out twice the next week. We don’t have a strict schedule, but we are aware of the extra money we spend on food.
My Recent Grocery Trip
Even if you adapt these grocery budgeting tips to fit your lifestyle, I guarantee you will see a difference in how much money that you spend on groceries. The biggest tip that I can give is to be aware of your spending. That goes for all aspects of your finances.
Do you have any tips for staying on budget when it comes to grocery shopping? Let me know any tricks of the trade that you have up your sleeve in the comments below. 🙂
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