People spend inordinate amounts of money on groceries. I’m always amazed when I find out $1000 a month is not unusual for a family of 3-4. $1000! And we justify our grocery bills because we have to eat! Groceries are the last place I think most people tighten their belts on.
Plus I think cutting costs in the kitchen is one of the most difficult cuts because we’ve been programmed to buy things we don’t need, like pre-packaged foods vs. making things from scratch, tons of snacks we really don’t need (because they’re fast), and we’re at the mercy of the grocery store – so we pay what they tell us to pay while we’re there, because we don’t have time to shop around.
I’ve found a few more tricks that have really worked on trimming up my grocery budget.
- Grow your own herbs and vegetables. I made a box garden this spring and I love it. So far herbs are the only things that I can eat this early, but herbs are expensive at the grocery store! I made this red potato squash salad and made a chopped basil, chives and sage (all from my garden) dressing and it was awesome. Herbs add so much flavor to dishes that you don’t need as much salt, and they are economical to grow.
- Shop with the small cart. This is harder to do when I have my toddler with me, but when I can escape to the store sans le petite bebe, I shop with the smallest cart. This way, I can’t throw in a bunch of stuff I don’t need.
- Always make a grocery list beforehand and cross it off as you shop. This is a no-brainer. It totally makes sense that if you shop with a list you’ll buy fewer non-essentials. But I’m always still amazed at the difference in my bill when I stick to my list than when I veer… a list is vital.
- Skip the cereal aisle. This is a big one for people with kids. Kids love cereal. I love cereal. But it’s expensive. Even the bulk kind. So we don’t buy it anymore. We like homemade granola (super yummy and cheap to make), oatmeal and Carnation instant breakfast (I know, but it’s good). You can save a lot of money if you skip cereal. And save on a few too many teaspons of sugar.
- Rethink “essential” cleaning supplies. I’m finding that I can actually do without a lot of the things I used to think was essential. Things like cleaning supplies. Who needs to clean anyway? No, I’m kidding. But toilet bowl cleaners and soft scrub tub cleaners, Windex, etc are really expensive. I use vinegar and water on my wood floors (super cheap), hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in the bathroom (super cheap), and next I’m trying out homemade glass cleaner. So far the homemade cleaning supplies work better than store bought stuff! Speaking of which, baking soda is amazing. Did you know you can use it as a deoderant? I’m just sayin!
What ways have you found to save money on groceries? Any other tips?