If you’re anything like me, you probably understand how hard it is to stay under budget every week on groceries. The clearance racks are the bane of your existence, just begging you to spend money you don’t have. The kids ask for every box of cereal in sight, and you’re so hungry you grab a bag of chips to much on during your trip home. Every little thing adds up, and when you’re on a budget, you can’t afford these little purchases every trip! Follow these tips on how to stick to your grocery budget, and control your weekly spending.
Use cash, and only get out what you need
This is probably the best way for you to keep on track! Keep an envelope at home with your typical monthly grocery money, and only get out what you’ll spend that week. That way you’re not tempted to spend more than you have!
Shop less often
If you find yourself running to the store three times a week, you should probably rethink your strategy. The more often you go to the store, the more likely you are to buy something you didn’t plan to! Try to shop only once a week and get everything you need all in one trip.
Eat before you go shopping
Have you ever went shopping while hungry? I have, and I’ve had disastrous results! EVERYTHING looks amazing and delicious when I’m hungry, and I’m much more likely to put things in my cart that aren’t on my grocery list. Cookies, I’m looking at you!
Buy store brand items instead of name brand
I touched on this on a previous post about how to save $60 a month on groceries, but it definitely bears repeating. Can you taste a difference between the different cans of corn? It’s okay to be loyal to some name brands; I can’t buy any kind of macaroni and cheese except Kraft! If you’re not picky though, try a store brand to see how you like it. You save so much money doing this!
Take advantage of sale ads
Every Sunday I look through the ads to see what’s cheapest. Don’t do your shopping until you see the ad! Chances are, you might see something you were going to buy anyway, perhaps even at a different store. I love when I see that the produce I wanted went on major sale at another store like Aldi!
Make a list
This is, in my opinion, tied with #1 as the most important way to stick to your budget. I never do any shopping without making a list first! In addition to just adding the items I need to the list, I also include the price of each item. I don’t know the price of EVERYTHING; I do make guesses for some things and am sometimes horribly wrong, either good or bad. But I’ve got a pretty good idea of how much things cost, and that just comes with time and practice. If it helps, record the prices of everything you buy so that next time you have a good idea of what everything costs!
New to list making and meal planning? Check out my tips on meal planning for beginners!
The fewer people that go on the shopping trip, the fewer temptations there are! I know that when John and Allison come with me, John sees things that I walk right past. “Oh look, this is on sale this week!” And sometimes I would give in because hey, it’s only a dollar! But then we end up over budget. And kids are even worse, with the cookies and the cartoon characters on boxes. So leave the kids at home with dad, if possible, and focus solely on shopping!
It may take practice, and you won’t be perfect every week. There are times even now when I make mistakes and am over budget by a few dollars, and will have to make it up the next week. Just stay with it, and in time you’ll be a pro at sticking to your grocery budget!
Can you relate to any of these? How do YOU stick to your grocery budget? Share with us below!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.