How to Cut Your Grocery Budget {Finding Freedom Boot Camp}

by GettingFreedom on March 15, 2012

 

We’re entering into Week 3 of Finding Freedom Boot Camp.  So far we’ve created our Monthly Cash Flow Plan as well as set up some cash-only categories. 

For many, you may still be in the red every month on paper.  This is where the challenge comes in.  It’s time to start slashing the spending so that you can regain control of your finances.

As I mentioned, your grocery budget is one of the best categories to include in your cash-only budget and it’s also the easiest {yet at sometimes the hardest} one to cut your spending in.   I do consider it a negotiable, because although you have to eat, you can almost always cut your spending in the “grocery department” and still not starve.

Back in 2009 I wrote 8 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Budget in Half.  After being at this for a few more years–I have since found a total of 10 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Budget in Half.

10Ways to Slash Your Grocery Budget In Half

Shop Less

The less you are in the store, the less you will be tempted to purchase additional items, that you more than likely do not actually need.  If you currently shop on a weekly basis–make a conscious effort to only shop biweekly.  Already successful at shopping biweekly?  Try monthly.

Pay With Cash

Using cash is far more painful than a quick swipe or the cutting of a paper check. It will save you tons of money, you will end up with things you actually need, and you will be in control!

Use Coupons Wisely

Most people aren’t aware that you can use a coupon on an item that is already on sale. You can–and it’s the best way to maximize your savings!  You can find the latest printable coupons up on the printable coupon tab, or in the Printable Coupon Roundups.  Also, Sunday Coupon Preview will let you know what coupons you can expect to see in your Sunday Paper.
**If you aren’t interested in coupons, just check out the ads and shop the loss leaders. Loss leaders are the items that the grocery stores mark way down to get you into the store to buy other overpriced items.**

Make a Meal Plan

Knowing what you are making for dinner and writing down all of the ingredients you need from the store will not only keep you on track at the storebut it will save you unnecessary trips back to the store {see tip #1 above}.  Knowing ahead of time what you are fixing for dinner will also eliminate the Dinner Hour Stress Hour. Setting some time aside ahead of time to create your menu plan will give you more time, less stress, and you’ll be saving money in the process! 

 

Stick to Your List!

That is why you made it, so stick to it! My only exception to this, is if I know I need a particular item and I forgot to put it on my list. But, I must need it (not want it) and there must be room in my budget.

Watch Those Prices

Buying in bigger packages isn’t always cheaper, so make sure that you are getting the best deal. I’m that crazy lady standing in the aisle checking out every brand of product and figuring out the best deal. And a “sale” isn’t always a sale.

Shop Multiple Stores

Shopping multiple stores is often not feasible for those of us that live in rural areas.  Pay close attention to the prices at your local stores and compare and weight the time and savings.  Don’t forget about your online options, either! There are many online grocers that have competitive pricing {think:: Azure Standard, Amazon, Vitacost and Alice.com}. Since your groceries will be delivered to you, you could potentially be saving additional money since you won’t have fuel expenses.

Make a Price Book

Track all of your normal grocery purchases in a notebook or computer program by store and date.  You can also go an extra step and figure out the price per unit so that you have a better idea of what is the best price.  When I buy the item next time, if it is lower I write that in with stars letting me know that is a good deal. When  make my list, I write down how much it costs beside the item and tally it up at the end. This helps me stay within my budget.

 

Make It At Home

Making most of what we eat from scratch has really cut our costs. In return I have been able to make my family healthy foods for less than half of what I could buy them for, and I am at peace because I know exactly what is in it and where it has been. No need to worry about some 14 letter ingredient that I have never heard of and cannot pronounce!  If you think of your kitchen as a grocery store, you can shop it when your family gets hungry.

Put Your Frugal Kitchen Gadgets to Work!

I have a very hard time shelling out money for kitchen gadgets, when my goal is to save money, not spend it. When it comes to kitchen gadgets, though, I’ve found many that have saved me far more than they cost me.

For instance:: My canning equipment, meat slicer, meat grinder, vacuum food sealer and many more!  You can follow along with my latest Frugal Kitchen Gadgets here.

 

Keep in mind that everyone’s grocery needs are different.  No two budgets are going to look the same and what works for our family could flop for yours.  The point here is to do what works for you!  It may take a few months to get a budget that really works for you–and that’s perfectly okay.  It has to fit you and your needs or you won’t succeed!

 

How do you save money on groceries?

 

The Home Management Binder has grocery shopping lists, menu planning forms, customizable master grocery lists, as well as monthly cash flow sheets.  Do you have your copy?

 

This post is part of Frugal Friday.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy March 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Spot on! I do all of these things and totally agree! I especially love shopping once a month.

Reply

Michele B January 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Hello there!

I’m relatively new to this site. First of all – I am so hopeful that I can utilize some of these tips to finally create a budget and stick to it. I’ve been working towards this point for a really like time.

Now to my question. We are a family of 6 soonto be second (March 29 – due). My husband and I both work more than full time hours. Our kids ages are 15, 14, 11, 7 and soon to be here, lol. The older kids are really active in the arts at school. This all leads to major time challenges. The plus side is I do work from home – so no daycare expense at least for now. However, I do work for a real fortune 500 company (a bank), and I am obligated to adhere to a schedule etc.

With all of that – how can I shave time out of our lives to do more homemade items (food, cleaning stuff if it helps). Where can I shave? How can I save more with what our life is like right now? I will do whatever can. When the baby is born I will have 12 weeks paid Maternity leave, and that will help, but I do need to think through more ideas to make it work. Any advise would be appreciated. Our family is moving over the summer to a new state – and in the next couple of years we would like to purchase a new house. Additionally, we do need to upsize our vehicle to account for the baby.

Thank you in advance.
Michele

Reply

GettingFreedom January 9, 2013 at 8:30 am

Michele–

Congratulations on your baby!

I fully understand feeling pinched for time with active kids! This is when I started really paying attention to how long it took me to accomplish various tasks. Believe it or not, small snippets of time are pretty valuable. Using those time pockets to brown some hamburger meat, mix up some muffins, create a freezer meal–whatever it may be, will start to make changes in your grocery budget. When you’re cooking dinner one night–back a double/triple batch and throw the others in the freezer for busy nights. Also–homemade cleaning supplies are a big budget saver. I have a lot of different recipes listed in the Homemade Cleaning Solutions section.

I’m actually glad you mentioned this, as this is something I’ve wanted to address on the blog {This is a question I get frequently!}.

Reply

Michele B January 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I am so sorry for all the typos. My keyboard is going out, and I dont want to purchase a new one until I have too. LOL

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