3 Things to Make the Most of Your Grocery Budget
When I first got married, there were some months where we would spend close to $1,000 on groceries. Not including eating out. This is not ideal for only two people.
This was before we put into place a strict budget. I knew we could do better.
It took some fine tuning, but now, almost five years into our marriage, we have a system. I only wish I started doing this sooner.
Find items that you can use in more ways than one.
If I’m making soup, for example - I will buy a stalk of celery and use half of it. Then, I’ll try to use the rest for lunches by pairing it with peanut butter. Another one of my favorites is canned coconut milk. It’s the perfect creamer for coffee, great for thickening up a smoothie, and a Thai night staple. If you have to buy an ingredient at the store that you know you won’t be able to use in much else, try finding a “sample” size. This happened to me recently - I only needed a small amount of celery seeds (I never use them), and I realized my grocery store has small sample packets for less than half the price of a jar.
Stick to the outskirts of the grocery store.
What I mean by this, is try to get as much as possible in the produce, dairy, and meat section (fresh foods). Then, try to avoid the isles in the center (where most of the processed foods are). This will set you up to have the ingredients you need to make meals from scratch, which are not only healthier but are easier on your wallet. Beware - there are some pricey and unnecessary ingredients on the outskirts as well, and they usually hide in the bakery.
Shop at Trader Joes.
If you are unfortunate enough to not have a TJ’s near you, I’m so sorry. Why? Because I leave the store every week with a cart full of food for only $80. That includes everything I need for the week, aside from a few fruits and veggies that I’ll replenish towards the end (to keep everything fresh). When I tell people this, they are always shocked because they assumed TJ’s is expensive. It’s not. In every single location I’ve shopped at, they seem to have the cheapest produce and packaged items. This is one store where I don’t feel the need to only stick to the outskirts - almost everything inside is value-priced with no nasty ingredients. Give them a try!
What are your top grocery budgeting tips?