As a stay at home mom, I feel like it’s my job to make our money go as far as possible. I am by nature a frugal person and I’m constantly trying to get the most for our money. One area that I’m always trying to save on is groceries. My goal is to spend as little as possible while still feeding my family quality whole foods. Our budget is $80 per week for a family of three which includes household items such as diapers, shampoo, etc. Here are some of my top tips for eating whole foods on a budget.
1. Menu Plan – This is a huge money saver. If you plan your meals and shop accordingly then your less likely to waste food and buy things you don’t need. I wrote a post on how I menu plan here.
2. Cook from Scratch – Cooking from scratch can save you a lot. For example a 42 oz tub of oats is $3.98 which works out to be .09 per ounce, while a 15 oz box of instant oatmeal packets is $2.88 which works out to be .19 per ounce! That’s almost double the price.
3. Go Meatless – Meat can be a huge drain on the budget. Try going meatless once or twice per week (beans and rice, pancakes, cheesy pasta, etc.) and you will end up saving a good chunk of money. Also, when you do use meat try to use it as a compliment to a dish instead of the main focus. You can also add beans to ground beef as a filler to make it go farther.
4. Grow Your Own – Growing your own food is a great way to save on money. We have a good sized garden and hardly buy any vegetables during the warm months. New to gardening? Check out my best tips for the beginner gardener.
5. Pay with Cash – If you set a budget for yourself and only take that amount in cash to the store then you are guaranteed to stick to your budget. Also, people spend less when they are using cash because it’s mentally harder to hand over a $100 bill than it is to swipe a card.
6. Keep it Simple – Incorporating some simple meals into your diet can end up saving you money. We do a pancake night every Friday. You could also do omelets, french toast, homemade pizza, salads, pasta, tacos, etc. Choose recipes with simple ingredients that you keep on hand and if a recipe calls for something you don’t normally buy think about substituting it or leaving it out completely.
7. Go Without – I do a big shopping trip every two weeks and a small trip on the off weeks. If you run out of milk or bread 2-3 days before you normally go to the store, just go without for a few days. The less you find yourself in the store, the less you will end up spending.
8. Stock Up Sale – Check your weekly sales flyer’s and stock up on the great deals each week. The more you do this the less you will need to buy on a week to week basis and the more money you will save! Also, go to your local farmer’s market and stock up on in season produce that you can freeze or can for later use. You can also ask for “seconds” which are bruised or not very pretty fruits for a discounted price that you can make into jams or jellies.
9. Don’t Shop Hungry – If your hungry you will spend more. Period. If I’m on my way to the store and I notice that I’m hungry I try to stop and get a snack first, because I know spending $3 to fill my tummy now will probably save $20 or more on impulse purchases if I were hungry. Better yet, eat before you leave the house and save even more money!
10. Buy in Bulk – A great way to save is buying in bulk. Be sure to check the per unit price though because buying in bulk isn’t always a better deal. Also consider ordering bulk food online through Amazon or Azure Standard.
Remember, all the little savings do add up!
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