Starting last year I realized how out of control our spending was when I took a look at our money situation. It made me realize we needed a budget and a better way to make our monthly payments work. So I created a “payment plan” or a “budget” whatever you want to call it.
A big area of spending was food and obviously something needed to change.
I chose a very specific amount that we were allowed to spend on groceries, it was hard at first but now after doing it for about 9 months, I think I’ve mastered it. That being said, I had to learn some ways to cut costs and I’m going to share some of these ways with you!
- Have a Budget, and stick to it. This has been the absolute most important way for me to save money. First of all, I pay in cash so I can’t overspend. And then when I go through the grocery store I use the calculator on my phone and add up every little thing I put in my buggie. If I was just throwing whatever in the cart I know I wouldn’t be able to keep track of what I was spending.
- Shopping Sales! This is a bit of a no brainer, but it takes some planning. Either you find sales in store or you can look through the flyer. I prefer to look through a flyer first because then it gives me an idea of what I can buy for certain meals, which leads to my next tip.
- Take a List with You, again if you’re just mindlessly throwing food in the buggie, there’s no way to track what you’re spending or you could buy something on a whim and then end up throw it out months later because you never ate it. I feel hopeless if I forget my list at home, and then I always forget to buy something that I really needed and will have to go back for on another day.
- Meal Plan, some people feel like this doesn’t work for them but the way I meal plan is so simple. I make a list of the meals I want to make, or can make (by knowing what’s on sale). I just write a list and as I cook them though the week I just cross it off the list. Having this plan helps me make sure that when I make my grocery list I have everything I need for this so I don’t have to run to the grocery store mid week, which goes to my next point.
- Shop every other week or even once a month, I do groceries every two weeks, because then it saves me constant trips to the store which can lead to extra unnecessary spending. Also how can you stick to a budget if you’re shopping every couple days? Unless you’re amazing at keeping track of what you spend every time you go, it would be pretty difficult to really understand what you’re spending. I am not good at tracking spending like that so it’s easier for me to stick with my budget all in one shot.
- Buy in Bulk, you might not notice savings with this one automatically, but when you’re not having to buy meat every time you shop you save some in the long run. Also goes for staples foods like flour and sugar, obviously you don’t want to buy anything you know you won’t use because you’ll end up throwing it away when it goes bad and that won’t save you money.
- Have a loyalty card, this really only works if you stick to one brand/store, sure you can have multiple loyalty cards, but its best to accumulate points or benefits if you shop somewhere consistently. Different companies have different systems so you need to see what works best for you. In my area we have superstores that earn you points when you shop certain items and when you reach a threshold you can discount your whole bill by a certain amount. Or there’s Save on Foods (my preferred method) where every dollar you spend you earn a point and then you can redeem points on certain food items to get them discounted.
I have really found for myself that being able to save on groceries has really depended on these 7 methods. Oh and bonus tip! Bring your own reusable bags! Most places are charging for bags now and you will most likely end up throwing them away after.
If you have any other tips to add let me know by leaving me a comment!