Of all the spending that my family does in a month, groceries are the one area where we consistently spent WAY TOO MUCH.
It’s so easy to run to the store during the week for a few things. And it doesn’t seem like you’re really spending so much, right? But $10 here and $20 there adds up so fast.
In the last couple of months, I’ve been on a mission to whip that grocery spending into shape. Seriously, we spend enough that cutting back would be like having a part time job.
Yes, that much.
The good news is that I’ve been able to cut my grocery spending in half (so far!) and I promise, if I can do it, you can, too.
The Embarrassing Part
For our family of five, we were easily spending $250 to $300 a week on food. That’s a regular grocery order, plus a stop or two for a few other things, and eating out.
I’m not sure why that’s so embarrassing for me to admit, but it is! I mean, we were much spending the same amount on food as we do on rent.
I decided to treat bringing that expense down like a side hustle. Really, it is just like one. I have to put work into my don’t-spend-the-rent-on-food plan, and the result is quite a lot of money that we can spend elsewhere.
My Three-Step Plan
I’ve been able to bring that down to about $150 a week, or about a 50 percent savings! This little side hustle is netting me $600 or so a month.
Not bad, right?
The three big steps I’ve taken to do that are:
1. Making a menu plan.
2. Making a shopping list and sticking to it.
3. Shopping smarter.
I use eMeals to help with my plan. I know it seems counter-intuitive to spend money on a plan to save money–but it works for me. Like really works. It’s pretty clear that planning isn’t my strong suit, and that shopping without a plan was expensive. I needed something to help me reign in that spending.
I love that eMeals weekly plans are worked around what’s on sale at the store that week. You can choose a store on some of the plans–although I don’t do that because my favorite store by far is Winco and they don’t have Winco in their system. Even if you’re store isn’t there, or you pick a plan that doesn’t use a store, the menu plan still takes into consideration what’s in season and what is probably on sale that week.
I spent about $20 for a three month plan (I use the 30 Minute Meals plan) with a discount code. I easily saved three times that much the first week I used it.
I know that my grocery spending was way out of control. Probably way more out of control than yours! But if you’re struggling to bring yours down, eMeals might help.
Shopping With a List
Okay, so shopping with a grocery list isn’t exactly revolutionary stuff. People have been doing it since the advent of grocery shopping, I’m certain.
It’s the sticking-with-the-list part that really changed things for me. That means no impulse buying.
The result is far less money spend at the store every week and, as an added bonus, far less food waste.
I use my menu planner printable every weekend to plan dinners for the upcoming week. I don’t stick to eMeals strictly, but I use it as a guide. I update the grocery list that eMeals sends me to remove any items I already have, to include things I need for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and to reflect any changes to their meal plan. I put my list on my grocery shopping printable, and I’m ready to go.
That’s it. I end up with a well-rounded grocery list, divided by store category. Sticking to the list is a big deal for me.
For me, shopping smarter means saving the most money for my time, and getting the best food I can with the money in my budget.
I do the bulk of my shopping at Winco. The prices there are comparable with Wal-Mart’s, with a much nicer shopping experience. Winco has a great bulk section, which I love. They treat their employees well.
I just love Winco, all around.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday I get grocery ads in the mail from other local stores. I write down the loss leaders I want to make sure to pick up. I use one index card per store and keep them in my HPDA so that when I’m out and about and find myself near one of the stores, I have my list with me.
I almost never use coupons, although I plan to start. I’ve tried, lots of times. I have it in me to be an extreme couponer! But I don’t have the organizational skills to keep up with it and I usually wind up with a zillion little squares of worthless, expired coupons that I forgot to use. The only time I use coupons on a regular basis is if I find a national brand at a loss leader price at one of my local stores. I’ll Google to see if there are any printable coupons for that item.
Shopping smarter, for me, means sticking to my list like glue. No impulse buys! No deciding while I’m at the store that something looks or sounds good. The only time I deviate is if I find something marked way, way down, that I’d like to stock up on. For instance, I was at Smart and Final yesterday and they had Pilsbury Peanut Butter Cookie Dough marked down from about $4 to 99 cents. I bought all five packages, because A) they freeze, B) cookies are something I sometimes buy anyway, and C) peanut butter cookies are the bomb.
I have a budget within my grocery budget for stocking up. For many reasons, not having what feels like ‘enough’ food in the house freaks me out. I like having a store of staples. More than that, it’s important for my peace of mind. So $20 of my weekly budget goes toward restocking pantry staples that we might not need for a specific meal that week, but that will get used.
Try eMeals for free!
I’m really excited that eMeals has given me a three month menu plan to give away to one of you!
Entering is super easy. Just CLICK HERE and input your email address. You’ll get a free copy of my C.H.a.O.S. Binder Quick Start Guide and I’ll pick a winner from all subscribers on October 1. (If you’re already a subscriber, you’re automatically entered to win.)
Easy peasy, just how I like it.
If you just can’t wait, you can use the code SCHOOL to get 20 percent off right now Save 20% with code SCHOOL on any eMeals meal plan.
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This post is linked to these awesome blogs:
Pretty Pintastic Party, Fancy This Fridays, 123 Homeschool for Me, Inspiration Spotlight, Frugal Friday, Serenity Now, City of Creative Dreams, Domestic Superhero, Snippets of Inspiration, Say G’Day, I Heart Naptime, Cooking on the Front Burners, Flaunt it Friday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Financially Savvy Saturday