Saving Money On Groceries
We all spend money on groceries, because we all have to eat:)
As I have been putting meals on the table for our family, I have found ways that save us money on groceries. Not only is money valuable and “every penny saved is a penny earned”, but time is also very precious, so I like to take advantage of the things that will save me some time as well.
Plan a menu. At least a week in advance. I think it’s too hard to plan more than a week in advance, but it may work for you. The main thing is to plan. Why? First of all, you won’t be tempted to eat out and it will save you so much time and headache later on in the week. I don’t know about you, but I am not very motivated half the time to think of a creative idea of what to cook for dinner. Especially when it has to be on the table in the next half hour or so. This is my #1 secret.Make a shopping list according to your menu plan. Buy only what you need for this week, with one of two extra options. This has saved me from wasting so much groceries. If I don’t have a menu, I just buy whatever looks good, whatever’s on sale and “just in case.” What usually happens is that we can’t possibly eat all that food and it goes to waste.
Watch your weekly flyers and plan your menu around what’s on sale that week. If chicken breast is on sale, it’s a good idea to include chicken cutlets or chicken and rice casserole in the menu. If fish is on sale, roast beef might not be the best option. I have saved so much money, just following these simple principles.
Have a grocery budget. I like using the envelope system. My husband and I are big Dave Ramsey fans and using the principles that he teaches has completely changed our financial outlook in a phenomenal way. In the envelope system, you put in the amount of money that you budgeted into an envelope, in this case the “Food” envelope, and spend only that money on food. When the money is gone, I get creative using the groceries that we already have. This doesn’t mean that you will never eat ice cream or beef tenderloin again, mainly existing on cabbage, rice and chicken thighs. After all, YOU decide how much money you will spend on food.
Don’t go grocery shopping when your’re hungry. If you’re hungry, everything looks SO good, and you end up buying much more than you need.
Coupon carefully. Coupons are great. I love anything that will save me money, but I have found that I need to be extra careful when I use coupons.
- I ask myself, “is this product something that we need?” It doesn’t matter if I save half the price on something if we don’t usually eat the food.
- Most coupons are for processed food. We don’t eat TV dinners or instant mashed potatoes. That is our choice – I like preparing as much of our meals from scratch as I possibly can. There are very few coupons for eggs, flour, fresh vegetables and meat.
- If I already have more ketchup in my pantry than I can use in a year, I don’t need to buy another bottle. Even if it costs only a few cents. Idon’t like extra clutter anyway.
- Couponing takes a lot of time.Sometimes, it’s more productive for me to spend my time on something else than cutting out coupons to save 20 cents.
For these reasons, I find that buying things on sale and using store coupons usually works best for our family.
One of my secrets to success is my Recipe Index. Many times I just can’t think of anything to cook. This is why I took the time and wrote down all the foods that I cook into a recipe index. If I try a new recipe that we love, I add it to the list. When I plan my menu for the week, my Recipe Index is my constant companion. I read through the different options and it’s so much easier to think of something and to remember something that I haven’t made in a while.What are some ways that you save money on groceries for your family?
Great tips! Thank you))
Wow, those are great tips… the recipe index sounds like something awesome to have, can I please have yours? just to get an idea on how to start…:))
Hi Lena! Thank you! I’m glad you found it helpful. The recipe index is great, I like it more every time I use it. I don’t think my recipe index would help you though. The point of the recipe index is to write down the meals that you cook, so it wouldn’t really help you to have my index, since we don’t cook the same food. It’s very simple to make. Just write down the soups, salads, main dishes, desserts that you make. You won’t remember all of it at the same time, but keep adding to the list. Whenever you try a new recipe that you like and want to keep making, add it to the index too. Next time you need to plan a menu, it’s all there. Hope that helps:)
Thank you Olga, I will try your idea. 🙂
I wanted to add about couponing. If you really can learn the system you can actually get free toiletries. I haven’t not spent any money on toilet paper, towels, shavers and other cosmetics in year.
We have cut our grocery bill at least in 50%, there are many items you can stock up on. I get cheap or free drinks, snack food, jam, olive oil, and you will be surprised I buy much more organic items now. You just have to learn the system. Snack foods really help for hosting, not an option for everyday foods 🙂
Here are sites I use couponconnections.com (great fro NW) and thekrazycouponlady.com
Thank you crazypurse! You’re right, you can definitely save a lot of money by using coupons. It’s incredible what kind of deals you can find! Thanks for recommending the websites:)
I was so thrilled to see you guys are Dave Ramsey fans! We are in Financial Peace University now, and I just can’t get enough of his wisdom! Our Russian community churches need to start teaching FPU. Thanks for all your helpful tips 🙂 What you do is greatly appreciated!!! God bless you 🙂 Keep up the great work!
Dave Ramsey’s program made such a difference how we view finances and our attitude about money. I definitely agree that we should teach FPU to the Russian community. It is one of our dreams.
Happy to have found your site. Seems we have some things in common. We have read Dave Ramseys books and did/do the Money Makeover, partially… I plan a menu for the next 2 weeks ( I just choose about 7 dinners, since we have leftovers, etc, and few new breakfast ideas, 2-3 desserts, and not schedule it exactly for those days, more like a menu list) I also buy all the ingredients ahead of time, and pay with cash from my envelope. We spend a good amount of money on food because we buy everything organic. I never liked couponing because I was never interested in any of the stuff on sale. To me it seems I’m wasting money.
I have about 5 of your recipes on my menu list for the next 2 weeks, they all look great, but we’ll see if I can make it happen 🙂 I’m not a cook by nature… nor is it my passion.
PS-congrats on the adoption journey!! that is my dream one day…
Hi Vintage Lady!
Thanks for stopping by:). We are so thankful that we somehow found out about Dave Ramsey. Going through Financial Peace has made such a difference in our life. By doing a little bit of planning ahead of time, we are able to save so much money.
I hope you’ll enjoy the recipes!
I save a lot of money on personal hygiene and household cleaning stuff as well as perishable staples and that leaves more money for the fresh food – instead of processed. I am not going to make my own pasta or marinara sause, so why not stock up on them when they are on sale……. when I tried couponing years ago I didn’t know what I was doing and really couldn’t even save any money. Then when I started to clipping coupons recently (after doing research and learning about it), I made a lot of silly purchases, but eventually learned and only buy what I need. My girlfriend used to make fun of me until I told her to try it – not to cut coupons as if her life depended on it, but just plan a little and plan menus around some of the sales. She couldn’t believe how much she was saving when she finally tried it.
Dave Ramsey is awesome – trying (operative word, trying) to apply his principles to our finances. With God’s help one day I will get there……
Running into your blog is such a blessing! I do not even know where to start… Well let’s start with things we have in common… 1. I love Russia (as I fell in love when I was on a mission trip for a month, in Moscow and Yoshkorla) 2. My husband and I are doing Dave Ramsey Total Money Make Over right now 3. I think hospitality is a ministry and absolutely enjoy it 4. I love to cook… I can go on and on… You are at the organization level that I want to be. I really want to create a recipe index and start meal planning. Thank you for sharing your recipes, and your life as I hold them dear and value them very much!
Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by. Thank you for your kind words. I am always thrilled to meet new people and we certainly DO have a lot in common.
I loved reading your view on this subject. I personally menu plan and love doing it, unfortunately with 2 little kids I don’t always get it done and then it’s like you say, food goes to waste or I end up making random runs to the store at all hours of the day.
Yep, that’s exactly what happens with me when I don’t take the time to plan a menu.
When you plan your weekly menu, do you mean you plan the dinners only? Do you plan lunches, snacks, breakfasts?
When I plan my weekly menu, I usually plan the dinners and keeps breakfast and lunch very simple, since it’s usually just me:). I always make sure that I have something on hand to make breakfast with, such as eggs, oatmeal, sandwiches, etc. For lunch, I usually just eat leftovers from the day before, or make something really easy again, from what I have on hand. On the weekend, I like to make something more special for my husband and myself, but sometimes we keep it simple too.