Some of you may know that I recently moved into a new apartment. This isn’t the first time I’ve lived on my own (meaning not with my parents), but this is the first time I’ve had to grocery shop for more than myself. Now I’m shopping for myself, Tyler, and our son Walter. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be that difficult. Boy, was I wrong. I never realized how different things are when you’re responsible for feeding more than just yourself. I’ll be honest, the first month we lived on our own, our grocery budget was a mess. We were spending an astronomical amount on food every week. We were buying too much of one thing, and not enough of another. I’m sure it’s easy to imagine just how much we ended up throwing out that month because he had been pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.
Anyone who knows me, knows I hate wasting money! Plus, we’re like most families, and can’t really afford to be wasting any money. So naturally, something had to be done to get our spending under control. Of course, I’ll be sharing all my tips with you guys! I’ve also created a free printable you can download; the link is at the end of this post!
1.The first thing I recommend is meal planning. Honestly, if I could only recommend one thing it would be this. Having a battle plan when you go into the grocery is incredibly helpful. We started out planning all our meal for the week, but I quickly discovered that didn’t really work for us. So now instead of planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we just plan our meals for the evening. When we go shopping, we buy a few options for breakfast (that way we’re not eating the same thing every morning), maybe one or two things to snack on, and whatever ingredients we need for our dinners. We never buy specific items for lunch because we always have leftovers from the night before. This is the best system for us. If you’re buying for more people, you might find planning all your meals is more helpful. Play around with meal planning and figure out what works best for you.
2.Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! I like to pride myself on having fun and exciting meals every week, and if it wasn’t for Pinterest I’d never be able to make that happen. It’s no secret that I’m not the best in the kitchen. I really thrive on easy recipes, thankfully there are some amazing bloggers out there that share fantastic recipes. If it wasn’t for them, we’d be eating peanut butter sandwiches every night. I know elaborate recipes can seem intimidating at first, but the trick is the find recipes that make basic, cheap ingredients taste amazing!
3.Only buy the ingredients you need. This was the hardest thing for me to do at first. I really had to change the way I was writing my shopping list. Say a recipe called for carrots, well instead of just writing carrots, I write carrots x 2. This way I’m only buying exactly what I need. Also, only buying the things we need for specific meals helps us cut down on the food we waste. I have specific ingredients for specific recipes which means, by the end of the week our fridge should be empty.
4.Try shopping at the farmers market. I know this may not be the case everywhere, but our local farmers market is amazing. We’re able to get most of our produce for the week, and most of the time we stay under $15. Having local, organic produce is something that we’ve chosen to make a priority, but I also understand that it’s just not possible for everyone. However, if you do have access to a local farmers market, I highly recommend going!
5.Shop at a discount grocery store like Aldi, or Lidl.Lidl is where we do our weekly grocery shopping, once we’ve hit the farmers market. I can’t praise this place enough, we’re able to buy everything we need for the week all while staying WAY under budget. Since switching to Lidl we’re able to buy quality, organic products which was something we could never afford before. If you like Aldi, you’ll love Lidl! If you have one near you, do yourself a favor and check it out!
I’d love to hear about your grocery budget. Leave me a comment here, or head on over to the Facebook page! I’d you’re ready to get your grocery budget under control, download the free printable I have for you here. It’s super simple, but it’ll get the job done. If you only want to print it once, but use it over and over, make a DIY dry erase board by placing the printable in a picture frame.