As I've written before, I have been saving a TON on groceries lately. I've gone from spending $200/week to $100/week for a family of 6. (This does not include the kids lunches for school. It cuts down on a lot of stress to just let them buy their lunch and I'm not buying food that gets eaten before I get a chance to pack them.) Now that I'm playing my "Grocery Game", I'm having fun watching my savings grow!
Every time I see an article about how to save money shopping, I read it. I'm always looking for a good new tip. I usually don't learn anything new. Amy asked me if I had any tips on saving on grocery shopping and I thought, that's a great thing to blog about. I'll share what works for me, and you can share what works for you. I'm always looking for new ideas (other than doing the obvious like buying what's on sale and using coupons). Here's some of mine:
1.Bringing my calculator. This was my friend Dee's idea. I use a budget of $100 that I don't want to go over. If I get to the end of my shopping and I'm over, I have to put things back until I'm under $100. This is my "Grocery Game".
2.Not many snacks. I don't buy the kids favorite snacks much anymore. They really don't need them. I want them to eat better at meals. Snack should eaten just to tide you over until the next meal. If I buy cookies, they eat the whole box in one day. If I buy pretzels, they only eat them because they're hungry and can't wait until the next meal.
3.Using supplies sparingly. I count make-up and cleaning supplies in with my grocery budget. They are expensive! I use every last drop of make-up until it's all gone. I use every scrap of lotion. I try to hold off buying more until I absolutely have to. I use just a tiny bit of cleaners to clean. Cleaning supplies are my gold. Sometimes I dust using a damp cloth so I don't use too much furniture polish. I use just a quick spray in the bathroom. Did you know dish detergent works great for cleaning off soap scum? It's cheap, too.
4.No juice boxes, cans of pop, or fruit snack. I use to buy these and my kids just ate and drank them all up because they were there, not because they needed them. I only buy 1 container of apple juice a week and two liters of pop (once in a while). I want to kids to drink water if they're thirsty.
5.Cheap fruits and vegetables. Every week I buy the ones that are the cheapest, like lettuce, bananas, apples, carrots. I only buy apple cider when it's on sale. I buy more expensive fruits and vegetables when they're on sale, in season, or when they fit in my budget.
6.Eat leftovers. I REALLY eat leftover. If there's a piece of meat from dinner leftover, it's my husbands lunch for the next day. If there's leftover pork, I'll make BBQ pork sandwiches. I even eat the kids leftover breakfasts! I never buy anything special for myself for breakfast because there always seems to be some waffle pieces and orange juice sitting there when the kids go to school, usually just enough for me.
7.Have super cheap dinner nights. A few nights a week we eat REALLY cheap dinners. I'll make french toast sprinkles with cinnamon and applesauce, Kraft mac n cheese with peas, hamburgers on the grill (sometimes with bread as the bun).
8.Do without. Leslie said she does this, too. Sometimes, if I can, I just do without certain items so I can make it to my next shopping day. If I notice we're running low on milk, we might just have water with our dinner. You only need 3 servings a milk a day and one serving is 1 cup, a pretty small glass. My kids get their dairy from a lot of other things, too, like cheese. I'm sure they already get plenty of calcium.
9.Limiting food. Believe me, my family is hardly starving. I think there's nothing wrong with not letting the kids eat as much as they want at dinner. My husband looked at my little meatloaf I made once and said that was never going to be enough for all of us. I told him there would be plenty if we had no more that two slices each. Why should we eat until we're stuffed?
Now, you can't eat like this all the time. I love to cook. I bake a ton of Christmas cookies. I just try to offset the costs a little when I can. I have my favorites that I refuse to give up, but I like to think about Laura Ingalls and how she ate. They ate whatever they had, sometimes just molasses and bread. And Laura lived to a ripe old age! Hopefully you might be able to use one of my ideas about how I watch my grocery bills. Does anyone have any other ideas that work for you?