Happy Tuesday, friends! Sorry I’ve been out of the loop here for a few days – lots going on which I will likely share in Friday’s post. But The Frugal Farmer family is back, sharing great tips today on how to save money on groceries.
I’ll post later on about how we blew out July budget out of the water, but suffice to say it’s put us into overdrive to make August expenses as little as possible. So, where’s the first place we turn? To the grocery budget, of course. When we first started our journey to get out of debt, we planned a grocery budget of $300 a month for our family of six. We’ve been averaging closer to $400 a month, but we’re determined, out of necessity, to get back on track and do it well for August, so here are some of the money saving tricks we’re going to use:
1. Plan the menu around the sales. Yep, menu. We never grocery shop without a menu for the month, and you shouldn’t either. Throwing stuff hodge-podge like into the cart will only leave you with a house full of ingredients you’re not sure what to do with, and a likely expanded eating-out budget as you wonder what to feed your hungry family.
We always menu plan, but this month, for the first time, we’ll make meals that specifically target what’s on sale at the store. In our area this week, chicken breasts and hot dogs are dirt cheap, so dinners will be filled with grill nights, chicken wraps, chicken hot dishes and chicken soup. We also have a great deal on flour tortillas this week, so there’s be lots of tacos/wraps/quesadillas here too.
Before planning your monthly/weekly menu and doing your grocery shopping, check the sales first, and then plan your menu based on what’s cheapest for main ingredients.
2. Use less. Wherever you can. Use less meat in your casseroles. Use water instead of milk in your pancakes or biscuits. Drink water with meals instead of milk, juice or pop. Cut your detergent usage in half. Use less cheese in your mac and cheese and less meat in your sandwiches.
Really, you’ll be ok. I promise you won’t starve if you use two pieces of turkey on your sandwich instead of four. 🙂
And, you’ll save money on groceries like never before. I estimate that we cut at least 10% off of our grocery bill by using this method.
3. Garden. Or barter with someone who does. Or hit the farmer’s markets. Growing your own food is amazingly cost-effective. Here’s a good post that will tell you how much you need to plant to feed your family for a year. One tip I have for those wanting to grow their own food is to only plant what you like to eat. Don’t plant eggplant if you hate it. We focused on planting only foods we love in our garden this year: tomatoes, peppers and onions for salsa and salads, carrots to eat fresh and to freeze for casseroles and soups, cukes for making pickles, green beans for eating fresh and freezing. You get the picture. Figure out which veggies you’re buying weekly, and focus on planting those in your garden.
No garden capabilities? Swap services with someone you know who does have a garden. Ask them if you can buy some of their veggies, share their garden space, or make a trade for a service they need done. Or find a community garden through your town or your church.
Gardening not only helps you save money on groceries, the organic, home-grown veggies will likely increase your vegetable consumption – they taste fabulous!
4. Cut the crap. No more chips, or at least cut down. Get rid of the processed foods. Forego the weekly 12-packs of pop in favor of fresh, clean water. If you’re on a super-tight budget and are needing to get grocery costs down, there’s no better way to save money on food than to get rid of the extras.
5. Brown bag it. HUGE money savings here. We’ve got friends that, although they manage their money well, it always makes the wife cringe when the hubby spends $10 a day on food at work. Rick’s been brown-bagging it since January 1st, and our average meal for him runs about $2 – $2.50. Skip the cafeteria or the fast food place and bring your own lunch to work: you’ll save money on food like never before.
6. Do homemade. Desserts, breakfast breads, mac and cheese, soup: most all food is much cheaper if you make it from scratch instead of purchasing pre-made. Like fried rice? Throw some rice, carrots, peas and onions in a pan, fry it up and season it with some salt, pepper and a bit of soy sauce. Way cheaper than the local take out place. Make cookies for your brown-bag lunch instead of buying packaged desserts. Make biscuits from scratch instead of using the refrigerated stuff. Huge cost savings here.
7. Meal share. I read about many families who plan one meal a week with family or friends in order to cut grocery costs. Grab 1 or 2 other families and have a spaghetti dinner. One family brings the pasta and salad, one brings the bread and milk, a third brings the sauce/meatballs. And besides saving money on food, you’ll create some great memories with loved ones as well.
There’s always ways to save money on food if you are willing to work at it, so try these tips and see how much money you can save on food.
What are your best money saving tips for groceries?