No matter how tight your budget may be, you still have to eat. Unfortunately, if you don’t pay attention to how much you’re spending on food, it can get away from you! Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to help you tighten up your grocery budget and save money while still eating well.
- First, track what you’re currently spending. Your food budget can be hard to pin down, so take a month to determine how much you’re spending and why. Keep track of every purchase to determine the amount, then look at your dietary restrictions and where you shop to find ways to bring your expenditures in line with your new budget.
- Decide how much you should spend. Add together all your fixed expenses: savings, giving, mortgage, insurance, car payment, and so on. Deducting those things from your incoming money, and the rest is your household budget. Looking at that number, determine how much you can allot to food. Prioritize, so you’ll only splurge on important things.
- Plan a weekly menu. This may be the most important tip on the list! Planning your meals cuts down on waste and save money. Don’t forget to include breakfast, lunch, and snacks in your meal plan.
- Leftovers are a wonderful thing. If you’re cooking roast chicken on Monday, plan to put it in quesadillas on Tuesday and perhaps a casserole on Wednesday. When you can make your meals stretch, your dollars stretch too.
- Live by lists. Keep a running list of staples, so you’ll know what you need to keep your pantry well-stocked. Take a list to the store, so you’ll stay on task and you won’t risk blowing your budget on impulse buys.
- Be smart about bargain hunting. Sometimes coupons are wonderful and save you money. You won’t save money, though, by purchasing things you don’t need or won’t use. Sales are the same way: they only save you money when you’re buying what you need.
- Determine the payment method that works for you. Some people swear by paying only with cash, because it helps them stay accountable to their budget. Others prefer to pay by credit card, to easily keep track of their purchases. As long as you pay the credit card off each month, this can be a good way to earn credit card rewards while being mindful of your budget.
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