Are you tired of spending what seems like your entire paycheck on groceries?
For a lot of us, we spend a lot of money on groceries and still wonder why there isn’t any food in the house. The money is gone but nothing sounds good and the pantry looks empty.
We need to bring our families focus back to planning our meals and eating home cooked food. Careful planning will significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on food.
So how much should you spend on groceries each month? Financial expert, Dave Ramsey, suggests that your family spend 10-15% of your income on groceries. That’s the recommended amount regardless of having a family of one, two, four or seven people and it’s a good guideline.
The 10-15% rule does have a few exceptions. If you make $70k per month you won’t need $7k worth of groceries. Alternatively, if you make $1k per month you might need to spend more on food.
So how can you save more money on groceries? Here are a few tips!
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How to cut your grocery bill in half!
1. Stockpile during sales
Always stockpile food during sales to avoid paying full price. If you know you’re going to use ketchup and it’s on sale, buy enough of it to last you until it’s on sale again.
Don’t go too crazy during sales. Food still does expire and you don’t want to end up throwing it all out. Make sure that you eat food by prioritizing the items that will expire sooner.
Remember that sales don’t just mean processed foods. You can get great deals on fresh produce as well. If you’re into canning you can preserve fresh fruit and eat it later.
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2. Create a meal plan and stick to it
I absolutely love having a meal plan because not only does it take away the “I don’t know what we’re having for dinner” but it also allows you to plan how expensive you want your week to be.
If you need to have a frugal week of dinners then it’s easy to cook meals with potatoes, rice, and beans. You can plan simple and save more. If you’ve done really great with your meal planning the first few weeks of the month, you might treat yourself to a couple nice dinners if there is budget left over.
If you don’t plan meals then it’s really easy to overspend. You go to the grocery store and pick out what looks good to you at that time. Usually, you’ll end up with a grocery cart full of junk food that cost way too much and you’ll still be hungry later.
3. Learn the art of batch cooking
Batch cooking is my families secret weapon for eating well on a budget. You can significantly reduce your grocery bill just by including batch cooking into your meal plans.
I first fell in love with batch cooking when I made a large batch of chili for only $16. That batch of chili fed my family for at least a week! That breaks down to just over $2 a night per family!
Now we wouldn’t want to eat chili for a week straight. Most family members will start to revolt if you make them eat the same thing again and again. To prevent the next family revolution, we usually save one meal’s worth in the refrigerator and freeze the rest.
To freeze our meals we use a vacuum sealer. I love the vacuum sealer because I can scoop the right portions for my next meal. Your food is conveniently stored in your freezer until the next time you’re ready to eat.
Your food stays better and fresher longer since the vacuum sealer removes most of the air from the bag. This means you don’t have to worry as much about your food getting freezer burned. The vacuum sealer is great for saving money and wasting less food.
4. Eat less meat
Vegetarian recipes are a good way of saving money because meat can be expensive. There are many reasons to eat vegetarian, such as health reasons, animal compassion, and financial.
That doesn’t mean you have to become vegetarian. Just try to eat less meat and incorporate vegetarian meals into your meal plan.
Do try and get your meat when it’s on sale. You can usually get a pretty good deal when the meat is close to its sell-by date.
Here are some recommended vegetarian dinner options you can try to incorporate into your meal plan.
- 3 Bean Enchiladas
- Vegan Pad Thai
- Low Fat Vegetarian Lasagna
- Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos
- Spicy Potato Soft Taco
5. Use coupons during sales
Couponing has always been a huge point of discussion when talking about saving money.
You have to decide whether or not coupons are worth your time. Researching and collecting coupons is time-consuming. For that reason, I would only recommend using coupons when the items are on sale.
Should you want to use coupons, check out the Penny Pinchin Mom’s article on how to use your coupons. It’s full of helpful tips for getting the most value out of your coupons.
6. Eat small dinners
We make a huge deal about eating dinner in this country! Dinner does not have to be a large meal.
You would almost think that we went the whole day without eating and are going to die of starvation. Without hesitation, cramming down three burrito’s, a pizza, and a bowl of ice cream. It’s almost like you won’t know when you’ll have the opportunity to eat again!
Dinner doesn’t have to be so complex. It can be as simple as a chicken breast, rice, and broccoli. Eating a small and modest meal is healthy for you and will save you money.
7. Stop buying brand loyal
Sometimes we represent our favorite products like our favorite football team. You may not have a tide laundry detergent jersey, but sometimes it feels like it.
Sometimes it’s ok to root for the other team. It’s ok to try an off-brand item to see if you like it enough for long-term money saving. You may like expensive Dave’s Killer Bread, but have you tried the great value bread?
If you don’t like it then you don’t have to switch. You should try a few different off brands to know what you’ll like and see if it’s worth switching. You can save a lot of money over the course of a year by switching to an off brand.
8. Shop at different grocery stores and pick two
I’ve experienced a lot of different stores in my area. I know which ones are expensive and overpriced. I also know at what stores I get the best deals.
Shopping at the first store usually provides more money saving opportunities through buying in bulk. The second store has lower prices than most so I get the remainder of my groceries here. The second store is for the items I can’t find at the first store or when I don’t need to buy in bulk.
Don’t go to more than two stores for your normal shopping. If you go to more than two stores it’s usually a waste of time and gas. You’ll be driving all over town just to save a couple of bucks!
9. Pay with cash
Do you know why it’s so easy to spend money? Well, it turns out our brains don’t register any pain when you swipe a credit card. You aren’t seeing the money transfer from your hand to another’s, never to be seen again.
Paying with cash does register pain in your brain. If you hand over $50 to someone, you’ll start to wonder how many hours did it take to earn that $50? It is proven that it reduces your spending when you pay with cash.
Paying with cash will allow you to stick to your grocery budget. If you start the month off with cash you will have a physical reminder of how much is left in your budget. You can’t hand over money that isn’t there!
10. Reduce the number of trips to the grocery store
One of the biggest temptations that lead to overspending is grabbing items that aren’t on your shopping list. How many times have chips not been on your grocery list but still ended up in the cart?
It’s tempting to buy snacks you come across in the store that you hadn’t thought about. If you go to the grocery store four times a week then that’s four times the chances you’ll end up with items you don’t need.
Can you go to the grocery store once a month instead? Doing so will significantly reduce the number of items that shouldn’t be in your cart.
What should a grocery budget be for a family of 4?
So how much should you really be spending on groceries every month? Financial expert Dave Ramsey suggests budgeting 10-15% of your income for food.
However, there are a couple suggested guidelines when using the 10-15% rule of thumb. The first guideline is you may need to spend more if you’re low income. Someone making $1,000 per month may struggle to live off of $150.
The second guideline is if you make a lot of money you should spend less on food. Someone earning $10,000 a month probably doesn’t need to spend $1,000 per month on food.How to cut your grocery bill in half!Click To Tweet
How to cut your grocery bill and still eat healthy?
The first thing people usually think is that cutting your spending on food means eating less healthy. You can make healthy dinner options and still cut your grocery bill!
The first thing to remember is to plan your meals to stay within your grocery budget. Keep your meals smaller and try not to overeat. Remember, a frugal healthy meal can be as simple as rice, broccoli, and a chicken breast.
Avoid or limit processed food options that claim to be healthy. Processed food options are usually more expensive. Instead, eat more items that you know you can get for less money. Examples are broccoli, eggs, potatoes, rice, and beans.
If you’re still looking to save more money for your family then I would suggest checking out our free money saving course.
The course is full of budget and money saving tips to maximize your savings potential. If you struggle with budgeting, saving money, or just want a few extra dollars in your pocket, then this course is right for you!