Before I started this series, I asked you guys what you’d like to know most. One of my favorite requests was for best ways to consistently save. Even if you aren’t a couponer or someone as fanatical as I am about saving there are ways you can cut your grocery and household budget that are quick and easy to maintain over the long term.
First, as I’ve said in several posts now, make sure you have store shoppers cards and use them each time you shop. If you buy only the items on shoppers card special that week, you’ll cut your budget by around 30% (in my experience…your mileage may vary of course). That’s before coupons.
Second, go to the store with a list and stick to it. If you have family members that like to mention things you need/want while you’re grocery shopping, it may not be a bad idea to start shopping on your own. I love Adam, but he loves to mention that we’re out of chips when he sees them on a store end cap. Drives me nuts. 😉 It takes discipline not to buy extras. I’m still working on it myself, but I know that when I have a specific list and focus in on it, I don’t stray and I spend less. You have to put your blinders on and use laser precision to get in and out. As a bonus, your shopping goes more quickly too.
Lastly, you need to track what you have in your pantry and freezer and you need to menu plan.
I once heard Joyce Meyer say, “plan your pain” with regard to exercise. The point she was trying to make is that you can either plan a little pain up front (exercise), or you can suffer more later (from disease and health problems) because you didn’t. This totally applies to saving.
Even if you’re saving a lot and buying carefully, you have to have a plan for how to use all of that steeply discounted (or free!) stuff you’re getting. Planning your pain doesn’t stop with the coupons. Your pantry might be full but if you’re pulling the “What do you want for dinner? I don’t know what do you want for dinner? I don’t know, let’s just order a pizza.” thing then you’re still spending too much. Adam and I were really, really bad about that in the beginning. And to be truly honest with you, we still go through phases where we fail to adequately plan and end up eating out too much – but we’re way better at recognizing it these days and we get back on track ASAP.
On a good month, I plan an entire month’s worth of meals up front. Remember how I said I don’t shop like other people do? This is a big example of that. Most people sit down with the weekly sales flyer and create a few nights meals around what’s on sale. I don’t. I plan my meals around what I already have and I only buy fresh produce, bread and milk to supplement our meals each week.
On a rough month, one when I’m not on my game, I plan maybe a few days at a time, but it’s still based solely on what I already have in the house. The point is to make a plan and plan around what you have in your stockpile. With a plan, you are less likely to run to a drive through.
Think of it this way – if you’re buying a cart full of groceries and then ignore them and run to McDonald’s several times a week – you’re paying for dinner twice. Would you pay for your meal twice at a restaurant? No! So don’t do it at home!
If you’re interested in finding out more about how I menu plan CLICK HERE for my menu planning series.