This week when I posted my shopping trips to Facebook and said that I spent $46 total for the week. One reader asked “How????” Keep in mind that everyone’s family needs are different. We have 2 adults, 1 preschooler and 1 toddler to feed/clothe/provide for. Even when it was just my husband and I, our budget was $100 a month (we were that poor when we first married!)
Regardless of your family size and needs, here are some practical tips to reduce your household and grocery budget:
- Rememberthe secret to couponing is not the coupons.
- Think price per pound of food, not price per type of food. I won’t buy a 12 oz bag of chips for $4.29 because that’s $5.72/lb! My number for food is $1/lb. Some foods I get cheaper, like bananas for .47-59/lb. or canned veggies for $.69/lb. We eat more of these foods and foods priced right at $1/lb. and less of the more expensive foods. I typically won’t pay more than $2/lb. for meat or $2.50/lb. for chips/crackers. Chips, strawberries and ice cream are all splurge items for our family- and since we don’t eat them often we enjoy every bite of them! It’s easy to get caught up in the “that’s a great price for _____” moment when you find a sale, so beware.
- When you grocery shop, buy mostly what is on sale at a good price and buy more of it.
The majority of our purchases each week are just from the sale ads. We
even buy the produce that is on sale instead of just the produce that sounds good.
- Substitute if you’re out of an item you need. A couple of weeks ago I made refried beans from black beans because I was out of pinto beans. Our nacho pie was different, but it didn’t hurt any of us to eat it. When I used applesauce instead of veggie oil we ended up with sweeter cupcakes that everyone really enjoyed!
- Just go without! Let’s say your family typically buys and consumes a 24 pk of sodas every week. If you just don’t buy it for a week when you run out, you’ll instantly save $6- $7.Even I can survive one week without a bag of M&Ms
- Buy things before you need them. There’s nothing worse than running out of a product and having to pay full price to replenish it. If you’re stockpiling this isn’t a problem. If you don’t keep a stockpile consider keeping 1 extra of most products you eat or use. This will save you from paying full price at the last minute.
- Play the drugstore game to get all your health and beauty items for next to nothing. Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid are a landmine for free personal care products. Use these products instead of your preferred ones. Our bodies actually benefit from using different things from time to time – it’s sort of like drinking a rare cup of coffee for a non coffee drinker. Use the overage from your drugstore purchases to buy groceries.
- Get over the “I want it now” mindset and force help your family get over it too. If we were all millionaires or billionaires we could have and eat everything we want, when we want it. But since we’re not, our eyes need to stay smaller than our wallets is we want there to be anything left for us to retire on.
- Remember the turtle won the race by being slow and steady. You’re not likely to go from $100 a week to $70 or $50 the next week. And if you do you’ll probably burn out quickly (like the hare) Any reduction in your expenses is progress to be celebrated!