We’ve been changing our diet, something I call: The Journey to Organic. I’m always on this journey but, since autumn, I’ve made more significant changes. Those changes are very good for our bodies, but can be tough on our budget. In my end of summer business, I’d moved away from some tried-and-true methods for keeping the grocery expenses under control. I’m back at them though, and I’d like to share them with you!
- Scout your available stores! We live in the city so, I have 5 places near by where I can find all that we need. While I spend about 1/3 of our grocery budget at my local, privately owned heath food store, I have no shame in buying what we need from the most affordable place. You’d be surprised how much organic I have found at Walmart and my local grocery store chain for much less!
- Buy in bulk what you use most! I don’t advocate buying everything in bulk, but buying the items you use most in bulk can often be a big money saver.
- Don’t be afraid to order your food On-line! You can find some good deals for bulk buying on Amazon. Many organic food distributors sell their goods from their websites. You can get some good promotional deals when you sign up to their email lists, but do your homework with the shipping costs. Plus, it’s fun to get food in the mail!
- Plan your meals! Meal planning can seem overwhelming so, it’s important you tailor it to your needs. I don’t enjoy the kitchen. I don’t find a sense of fulfillment from cooking so, I don’t need to plan breakfasts and lunches- we pretty much have the same things most days. I plan pay-check-to-pay-check on a bi-weekly schedule. I created this little planner that I’ll share with you all: Ren’s Dinner Planner. I start my planner on Saturday because Friday is both payday and pizza day! When I go to plan my meals, I start by recording all our activities and events that could interfere with the dinner meal (“What the day holds”). I, then, plan what meals I think best fit for in the day (“Entire meal/menu”). Once I’ve planned the meal, I take a look at what I have on hand, and record the ingredients I need to purchase to make the meal (“Needed Ingredients”)! Va la! Meal planning is done, and a lot of money is about to be saved!!
- Make a grocery list! Take a trip through your cupboards, refrigerator/freezer, your bathroom, laundry room, and baby’s room. Find all the regularly used items that you need to replace, and add them to your list. Doing this helps you to prioritize what items are most essential and what items you might find a less expensive alternative for, or leave off altogether. I separate my list by store. I put the items I need under the store where I know I can find them the cheapest. Doing this saves time and money. At the top of the list I put my budget total and the date of our next pay check. The budget total stares me in the face and keeps me on track. The date of our next paycheck is my guide to non-perishable purchases. There is almost nothing more discouraging than spending money on items, that you later realize, are going to expire before you get a chance to use them. Above all: STICK TO YOUR LIST.
- Plan for the unexpected! Plan for some quick and easy meal options. I like to have something on hand that I can throw in the oven on unexpectedly busy days. Having quick meals on hand saves you from the temptation to order out, which can be VERY expensive. I also try to have the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) and ginger ale/electrolyte drink on hand for the unexpected sick days. Lastly, I try to have on hand the ingredients to a meal I can make in case we have unexpected company!
- Leave a little wiggle room! Don’t try to spend the whole budget on grocery day. You never know what items you might consume, and need to replace, before the next pay day. You also never know what surprise deals you might find on items you use and can stalk up on.
Following these tips helps us to eat healthy, without stress, and within our budget! What do you do to save money with groceries?