Thursday, December 19, 2013

What is YOUR Budget for Grocery Shopping?

Happy Thursday Everyone! I hope you have been having a much more successful week than I have.  I am sorry that I have not posted since Sunday, I have just been so overwhelmed with everything I needed to get done for the year that I have not had a chance to get everything done.  

Today I wanted to share an article that I read on one of my favorite blogs: A Bowl Full of Lemons.  How many of you are like me and really do not enjoy grocery shopping and have a hard time getting your rear out the door when you need to grocery shop? Out of all of the chores Justin and I have, this is by far my least favorite one.  Thankfully, there are things you can do to make your grocery shopping experience a little less daunting like making and sticking to a budget!

1. Create a Food Budget! 

Obvious, yes, but it’s important to start here. While the average American family spends 9-12% of its monthly income on food, the amount will vary based on your family size, ages of children, where you live, and whether or not you’re accommodating dietary restrictions. Start by looking at the receipts from the past several weeks and use them to calculate a baseline. Then try and lower it a bit over time as you’re disciplined to implement other steps. 

2. Pull out the budgeted money in cash.

It is very easy to go over budget when you use a card. Even a store gift card may not keep you in check unless it’s loaded with the exact amount you’re limited to for that shopping trip. But when you know you must have enough cash to cover your purchases when you get to the register, it forces you keep a running total as you put items in the cart. (Otherwise, it can be a little embarrassing!)

 3. Don’t carry your entire monthly grocery budget.

Take whatever you have budgeted for the month and divide it up into weeks if you shop weekly, two weeks if you shop bi-weekly, etc. Then bring only that amount and leave the rest at home. Always set aside a little margin for things you may need to pick up in the interim such as milk, bread, and eggs.

4. Shop less often.

If you are able to do this, it will cut down on the possibility of impulse purchases, simply because they’re not in your face as often. If you currently shop for groceries two or more times a week, change to once a week. If you shop once a week, try stretching it to every 10 days to two weeks.

5. Plan your menus ahead of time.

This method is another way to decrease impulse buying and also helps you strategically use the weekly grocery ads and plan your shopping trips. You can find lots of lovely printables for this, including ABFOL's Menu Planning Mini Kit. 

6. Shop at stores known for their lower everyday prices.

If it’s neither cost- nor time-effective for you to shop several different stores based on their ads, it can be helpful to frequent one that has consistently low prices. Depending on your location, this might include Aldi, Walmart, Meijer, or GFS. 

7. Use coupons.

Wait! Don’t run away! You don’t have to become an extreme couponer to implement this step, and neither does it mean you’ll be stocking up on a bunch of processed foods. Sometimes, a store will have coupons right in the ad for things you would buy anyway. And your favorite brands may share coupons if you sign up for emails or like their Facebook pages.  

8. Use Ziplist (or other grocery apps).

I appreciate Ziplist because it allows you to add recipes to your list then create a grocery list right from the recipes! So anytime you see a recipe that you like, you can add it to your list then add the groceries to your shopping car.  The best part about the app is it is essentially like having your paper checklist but it travels with you on your phone or tablet.  The best part? You can send the list to other people so they can grocery shop for you.  Isn't that cool? For a thorough review of Ziplist and its features, click here. 

9. Don’t turn up your nose at leftovers.

Once a week, have a smorgasbord dinner. Pull out the leftovers from the past four days or so along with condiments and some fresh veggies and fruit. It not only saves money but also purges the fridge. Plus it gives you a little break

10. Think outside the four walls of the grocery store.

Whether it’s growing your own produce, canning, keeping chickens for eggs, going in with another family on the purchase of a cow for beef, or purchasing in bulk and splitting it with a friend, there are many other ways to keep your grocery budget under control.

Is this article fun or what? It gives you some quick tips and ideas for how to manage and stay within a grocery budget! I love the idea and cannot wait to implement this in our household!
Question of the Day:
What budget system do you use for grocery shopping (or other household items)?

**This article does not belong to me, but belongs to ABFOL.  I have edited a few bullets to match my needs, but otherwise the concept is not my own.**

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