After spending years helping families develop budgets and get out of debt, there is no question that finding ways to save on groceries is a challenge many families face.
Regardless if you’re a family of 2 or 5, there is no rule on how much you should be spending on groceries each month. Every family’s food preferences differ and your grocery budget will vary accordingly. I’ve seen a family of 5 budget $400 a month for groceries, while I’ve also seen other families of 5 struggle to make it on $800.
No matter your eating preferences, there are a few simple steps that every family (or person) can take to save on groceries. If you’re already following these guidelines, then kudos to your diligence, but if you’re not, here are the best ways to go about slashing that grocery budget:
Creating a game plan for what you’re going to be eating for the week is an important step to save money at the grocery store. If you go shopping on a weekly basis (as we do here at the WSL house), then plan your menu the day before (or the morning of) your shopping trip. If you only visit the grocery store every two weeks, then this will be a little more challenging, but it’s still a practice you should implement.
The first step to save on groceries starts with the menu. If you fail at planning ahead, then you’ll be stuck in the position most families find themselves: they’re not sure what to eat for the night, so they opt for the healthy option of fast food.
While the menu allows you to have meals planned each night (so you’re not rushing around trying to figure out what to make for dinner), the most important part is that it allows you to create a grocery list for precisely what you need to make each of that week’s meals.
While I hate to admit this, I’ve developed a habit of watching others while I’m shopping for groceries. It’s AMAZING to see how many people randomly roam down isles and pick up whatever looks good to them. In addition, when you shop without a grocery list, it’s nearly impossible to save money as you’re more liable to buy things that you don’t NEED.
When you’re planning a grocery list, make sure to include snacks and food for breakfast, lunches, and dinner. While it takes practice to ensure that you remember everything you need to buy at the store each week, having a grocery list – and sticking to it! – is far-and-away the best way to save on groceries.
Shameless plug: if you want to start creating meal plans (and grocery lists) so you can save on groceries, then hop on over to my cheap healthy recipes page to get some ideas!
According to NPR, the only country that consumes more pounds of meat per person is Luxembourg. While they may have gotten the best of us, we still can be proud knowing that we consume an average of 270 pounds of meat per person per year!
Statistics further suggest that the average American consumes 62 pounds of beef, 50 pounds of pork, 60 pounds of chicken, and 14 pounds of turkey per year! While I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, and I could personally care less what you choose to feed yourself, the reality is that meat is expensive!
So, if you want to save on groceries then a logical step would be to cut back on your meat consumption. At the WSL house we typically have 1 or 2 meals each week that include meat. We never buy steak to cook at home and any meat we do buy is either (1) chicken breasts or (2) ground turkey or beef. Okay, and maybe some bacon.
If you’re a family of meat-eaters, then try thinking outside the box and buy a half (or quarter) of a cow or pig for the year. You can also negotiate deals with local farmers and buy chickens directly from them. My dad recently purchased an entire hog and it came out to about $.80 per pound! That included bacon, pork chops, ham, ribs, etc.
Finding ways to save on groceries is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It simply takes a little planning and execution. If you’re looking for more ways to save on groceries then check out my post about 6 Ways to Save Money on Groceries.
Picture by FreeDigitalPhotos.
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