How To Actually Stick to Your Grocery Budget
Sticking to your budget when you grocery shop can be extremely hard. I often find myself picking up random items from the shelves that look good. By the time I reach the register, I realize that I’m going to yet again, go above my budget. My husband and I have really been trying hard to tighten our budget and stick to it. With a new baby on the way, being frugal and responsible with our money is now more important than ever to us. I think I’ve finally mastered the art of not going over the limit we set for ourselves. Here are my tips I want to share with you that will help you actually stick to your grocery budget.
Set a Reasonable Budget
Only spending $100/month on groceries seems awesome, but is it reasonable for you and your family? For my husband and I, we spend about $300/month. That may seem like a lot to some or not enough to others. The key is to finding the right balance for you. Find a reasonable budget that will fit with your lifestyle. You don’t want to set it too low and end up starving by the end of the month, but you also don’t want to set it so high that you have a ton of food that ends up going to waste.
Create a Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan is the one thing I have to do every time. This step is essential to creating a solid grocery list. Having a plan and an exact idea of what we’re going to be eating every day also keeps us from spending money on fast food and eating out. My husband and I get paid every two weeks so we grocery shop every two weeks. When I say create a meal plan, I don’t mean meal prep. I mean find recipes that you can cook over the next week, two weeks, month, etc. Since we grocery shop every two weeks, I decide on 3-4 breakfast meals, 1 or two lunches, and usually about 10 dinner recipes.
For breakfast, I usually stick with easy options like cereal, avocado toast, and I make breakfast burritos in bulk for my husband. I know that some of the meals I make will leave us plenty of leftovers for lunches and for dinners on lazy nights that I don’t feel like cooking. If there aren’t any leftovers for lunch, I make sure to have sandwich supplies on hand.
Another money saving tip is to plan meals that have the same source of protein. For example, when I choose my meals I try to choose about half with beef and the other half with chicken. Protein tends to be one of the most expensive portions of grocery shopping, so doing this keeps you from spending too much money.
Organize Your List
After you’ve figured out and planned all of your meals, it’s time to organize your grocery list. I like to save all of the recipes we plan on using to my Pinterest board. Once I have everything planned out, I’ll go back through all of the recipes and write down the ingredients I’ll be needing.
Don’t forget any snacks you plan on eating, coffee, coffee creamer, and anything else you include in your groceries.
Calculate While You Shop
I do all of my grocery shopping at Smith’s (Kroger). They now have this super cool thing called Clicklist. (This is not a sponsored post, I just genuinely love it.) With Clicklist I can do all of my grocery shopping online and track exactly how much I’m spending so I never go over. If you don’t have access to a feature like this, I highly recommend pulling out your phone while you shop and keep track of how much your spending with tax in mind. If you notice you are getting close to your limit or are going to go over, evaluate your list and see if there are any items you can do with out. I find that if I plan my meals out, 9 times out of 10 I stay well under my budget.