Just out of curiosity, have you ever asked friends what they spend on food for their family each week? This question always leads to such an interesting conversation because the difference in food budgets between families can be HUGE…depending on eating out habits, the number and ages of the children, and the types of food purchased.The grocery budget can often be a ‘hot button’ area of family expenses that can turn into a runaway train if you get into the habit of stopping at the grocery store more than once or twice a week. Let’s talk about 3 easy ways that you can trim the fat from the family grocery budget starting today.
1. Don’t Shop This Week. That’s right. I said don’t shop this week. Have a look through the kitchen, fridge and freezer right now and make a list of meals that can be prepared from the things already in the house. Clean out the fruit & veggie drawers by eating up what’s here already. Have a look in the freezer to see what meats are already there, or frozen meals that can be served this week. At the very least, just shop for the bare essentials you need to get by this week.
2. Menu Plan. Menu planning is the secret weapon of keeping the family food budget in check. It is the stop-gap measure that prevents last minute trips to the grocery store, impulsive restaurant meals or drive-thru trips, and poor food choices. If the thought of meal-planning strikes dread in your heart, don’t despair. It doesn’t mean that you have to hit up cookbooks to find tasty recipes to make. All it means is that you have a food plan for the week and this can be done simply and easily by looking at what you have already, and planning meals around those things. Easy meals can be things like taco night, pasta & salad night or BBQ hamburgers along with a veggie tray.
3.Hit Up the Discount Bin. Get to know the grocery store where you shop at regularly and scoop up marked down items the famiiy would like when you see them. A few of these terrific finds can go a long way to stretching the grocery dollar. Here is a great week for me shopping the ‘discount bin’ at the local grocery store. All of the bright pink stickers are items marked to 50% off., and I re-bagged many of them and sent them straight to the freezer!
If you would like to read more about this topic, I discuss more ways to save on groceries, without using coupons, in an article on my blog here.