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11 Tips to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

How to Save Money on Groceries

As a Mom, I spend lots of time in the grocery store. If you’re a Mom, you know what I mean. We must feed our family, so sadly, grocery shopping is not an option, is it? Do you feel like your grocery budget will cover less than what’s in your cart? If you shop frequently, then you are all too aware of the increased cost of all those items in your cart. So, let’s create a plan that can help you save as much as possible on your groceries.

More than just coupons

Saving on groceries is more than clipping coupons like those extreme coupon ladies on TV besides, who needs 12 bottles of mustard anyway?  (If you want to learn more about couponing, be sure to read my post to learn more.) All it takes is a little planning and preparation before you ever leave home.

Plan Ahead

First, check your fridge, pantry, and cabinets and take stock of what you already have. You don’t want to blow your grocery budget on items you already have.

Next, I like to plan my meals for the week and make a list of what I need. That’s right. Make a list and stick to it. My meal plan is pretty simple and yours should be too.

Shop Alone

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If you can, choose a day to do your grocery shopping when you can go by yourself. I’ve been known to go during dance class when my kids were little. You’ll be amazed at how organized you can be and how well you can stick to a list when you only have an hour to shop. Also, try to get all your groceries for the week in one trip.

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Don’t Shop Hungry

Don’t shop on an empty stomach.  If you do, you will find you are straying from your list because you are starving and everything looks good. So, if the only time you can shop is after work, then grab a small snack (or shop at those warehouse stores with yummy samples.  If you like their samples, go home & put it on your list for next week so you can see how it fits into your meal plan!)

Compare Prices

Be sure to compare the unit price and buy the size that’s the better deal. You can always divide larger sizes up into smaller packages later if it costs less. I buy a certain brand of cereal bars for my son. The smaller box of 6 is around $4 whereas the larger box of 12 is $11. Definitely not a better deal. Also, higher priced items are usually placed at eye level so look on higher or lower shelves for lower-priced foods.

Go Big

Do you buy cereal? Don’t waste money on the single serving sizes when the larger boxes are a better buy (and much less waste). If you like warm cereal, like oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, are usually cheaper per serving than cold cereals and are a nice change when it’s cold outside.

Make your own “lunchable”

Those pre-packaged cheese and meats are convenient but are it worth the price?  You can buy a package of cheese and a package of lunch meat and make your own – cheaper and probably with healthier ingredients. Need more lunch savings ideas? Read thisgrocery budget

Get the Whole Bird

Buying a whole rotisserie chicken is much cheaper (especially from warehouse stores!) and you can use it for several meals. You can even freeze part of it to use for meals later on. You’ll also find that less tender cuts of meat are cheaper and if they’re prepared right, can be just as delicious.

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Bake from scratch

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You pay more for ready mixes of cakes and cookies than if you made them from scratch. Plus I like to modify recipes and this lets me do that easily (like using just a little less sugar or using Swerve instead). grocery budget

DIY Those Veggies

Prepared convenience foods will cost you more so if you do a little more of the work then you can save some money.  Buying a bag of carrots or celery and peeling them and chopping them yourself doesn’t take much time. I like to chop and wash my lettuce and store it in a glass jar or a special produce keeper so it’s ready to eat.

Mark Downs

save money,grocery savings,coupons,save moneyLook for the markdown areas in the grocery stores.  You might find fresh meat or vegetables that are about to go out of date but if you’re cooking them or freezing them soon that’s no problem. I love scoring a deal on fruit that might be super ripe. It’s perfect for making jam or freezing for smoothies. I’ve also gotten some great deals on meats that I may go ahead and cook and then freeze so they’re ready to add to a recipe later. grocery budget

Pricing Errors

Check the receipt for errors.  Stores don’t do this intentionally but it happens frequently.  It could be entered incorrectly on the computer scanner or the checker could be rushed and enter the wrong amount purchased.  Check for errors as soon as you can and don’t be shy about getting it corrected.  Some stores offer a percent back on store errors, so check the store’s policy.

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Put it into Action

By planning your meals and making a list you will avoid additional trips to the store (which means less opportunity to impulse shop).  Keep your recipes simple and shop early to avoid the crowds. Don’t go hungry either because hangry shoppers tend to impulse buy.

Some consider grocery shopping good therapy. For some moms, it’s an hour without kids and wandering through the grocery store at your own pace can be a nice change. You certainly don’t have to worry about mysterious items showing up when it’s time to check out. grocery budget

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I hope you enjoyed these tips and that you’re able to save money next time you grocery shop. Feel free to come follow me on Pinterest and share your savings pins!

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