Over the weekend I was at a Women's Breakfast, and the topic of budgeting for groceries came up. We talked about meal plans, coupons, and shopping at Aldi, but it got me thinking, what were some ways that I personally had found to save money on my grocery bill?
Some of you know that a year ago Erik started a new job and that we moved to a new town in the St. Louis area. The fact that we live so close to a big city meant that our rent was significantly higher than it was in our old town, plus the cost of living is a little higher here too.Since I'm a stay at home mom, and Erik was just starting out in a new career, we had to look for ways to cut our budget down. And our grocery bill was the first place we looked. Since this was also around the time I started learning about the importance of whole foods, and Nourishing Traditions, I had to learn to stay within a realistic budget while also providing healthy food for my family.
Last year we spent about 75 dollars a week on groceries for our family of six. We have increased it some since then, but I still follow these same principles.
Give every food item a budget category. This was huge for me, and probably my best tip for staying within a tight budget. Basically this meant that I budgeted 30 dollars for meat(including eggs), 20 dollars for dairy, and 15 dollars for produce. Since I have access to Aldi, 15 dollars for produce was stretched pretty far. I used the extra ten dollars for oats, flour, sugar, pasta, spices and sometimes for hygiene products if I had any wiggle room whatsoever. If I had a week where I needed more pantry staples than my budget allowed I had to take it out of a different category(usually the dairy.)
Make as much from scratch as possible. Typically I make bread, tortillas, hamburger buns, chicken stock, pizza dough, and basically any other bread product we eat. We rarely have cereal since a box of cereal in this house lasts about a day, and cereal can really add up. I make a lot of oatmeal and muffins for breakfast. Not only does making things from scratch save a lot of money, it also tends to be healthier!
Use Swagbucks! If you haven't heard of swagbucks, it's a great way to win some gift cards to amazon. By utilizing swagbucks I was able to get coconut oil for free, which is something I definitely couldn't have afforded on my tight budget. I also used my gift cards for bulk purchases like succanat and flour.
Yes our budget was tight, and there were plenty of times I was discouraged. There were plenty of times I was anxious about stretching our budget to last the whole week, but God was always faithful. We were always provided for, and never went without anything.
What are some ways the rest of you have learned to save some money on groceries?