It’s not like some months I’m buying filet mignon and others living off of Ramen noodles, yet our grocery budget fluctuates dramatically from month to month. Keeping this budget category consistent is a struggle. Tell me I’m not alone here?! While it’s still a work in progress, here are some ways I’m reining it in:
ALWAYS: Eat Leftovers
Never let leftovers go to waste. Have them for lunch or dinner again the next day. Some meals are better the second day (Yum, curry!). Other entrees are easily repurposed into something else delicious. Last week, Crock pot Hawaiian chicken became Chicken Fajitas with just a dash of lime, cilantro, and chili powder.
SOMETIMES: Make Homemade
“Semi-homemade” is where it’s at. It’s simple and can be less expensive than homemade. The best example of this: bag salad kits. At least once a month, Fry’s has them on BOGO, meaning less than $2 for a salad that will feed two adults. Throw on some grilled chicken (or rotisserie), shrimp, or deli meat and you have yourself a healthy, grocery budget-loving meal.
SOMETIMES: Stock Up
Never go to Costco alone! You heard me right. Just like Target, a momma simply can’t be trusted there. The damage is more painful at Costco though. Two harmless splurges can be over $100. My fix? I bring both kids with me (dangerously close to nap time when possible). In and out! Stock up, but only on staples and things you know will get eaten. Resist the urge to “try out” new items at Costco. Your bill will be through the roof before you know it and if no one likes it, you’re stuck with 25 left sitting.
The Sprouts buy one get one free sales are another time TO stock up. I clear their shelves on the more novelty organic foods I can count on my family eating like Chickpea noodles, Chips, snack bars, and fruit pouches.
ALWAYS: Grocery Pick Up
There’s no shame in the grocery pick up game! I have sale radar, but I just can’t be accountable to clip coupons, get to the store before they expire, and search through the aisles to match it with the product. Enter Fry’s ClickList: I search for what I’m looking for, see what brands have coupons, and add it to my cart while applying the coupon all at the same time! ClickList also shows you which items are on special, much easier than trolling the aisles for yellow tags. Impulse buys also removed from the grocery budget equation. Wal-Mart and other stores are also getting on the pick up bandwagon too.
SOMETIMES: Go Organic
Determine what your personal standards are when it comes to organic verses non. Do some research. Personally, I buy organic milk, ground beef or turkey, and baby formula. Then I price compare just about everything else to make my decision. Buying organic-only can break the bank and may not always be necessary.
ALWAYS: Meal Plan
I hate to even mention this one. It’s like self-care–we all know we should do it, but finding the undistracted time (or energy) is daunting. But it does make all the difference in budget and sanity when I’m able to get organized for the week. Knowing what is for dinner is more than half the battle in my world. And we end up with so much less waste. Meal “prepping” mamas, that’s a whole other ball game and I aspire to be more like you someday.