Thursday, August 14, 2014

How To: Lower Your Grocery Bill

   My husband and I have been following Dave Ramsey's Envelope System for over a year and absolutely love it! Through this system it came to my attention that one of our biggest envelopes was for Groceries!! Needless to say we love food at our house. But as our budget is tight these days (Isn't everyone's?!) I felt it a need to try and trim some of those dollars so that they could be used other places that are really needed.
    I began to search the web! Pinterest, Google, etc. searching for tips and tricks others used. I tried couponing and it was an epic fail! So I continued searching and after a few weeks came up with the following system that works great for us!

   The most important thing to do before even thinking about meals or lists is to search through your pantry, cupboards, fridge, and freezer. Look for and make a list of items that can be used to make meals. What better way to save money than to not spend any!! We currently live in our RV and so we only have the room for one week of groceries at a time. I can usually come up with at least half of my meals just by searching cupboards.
    Of coarse you may need a few items to complete the meal or to make a side dish. There are only 3 of us so most of the time when I make a meal I have half of the noodles, whipping cream, frozen veggies, etc left over that I can use for a meal the next week.

    Once a month we spend $100 at Costco. We stock up on staples like beef, chicken, cheese, rice, paper plates, bottles of water, diapers, etc. This really helps the weekly grocery bill stay low because meat is usually the most expensive thing! My best investment has been a vacuum sealer. I buy the giant pack of ground beef and freeze it in 1/2 and 1lb. increment's.

    Once I have decided what I already have I look through the stores weekly ad to see what is on sale. Sometimes it really helps and sometimes it doesn't. I like to look through the meat section first to see what meals I can come up with from that. For example if roasts are on sale than we have one on Sunday! Sometimes steaks or pork loin is on sale and for us that is exciting!! Other times the only thing on sale is hot dogs and potato salad. But every little bit you can save adds up. Then I look for fruits, veggies, and snack times that are on sale. If I can save on side dishes, then the more snack items we can buy.

   I always always always write a shopping list!! Going to the store without a list is highly dangerous and can lead to the $ adding up fast. Going along with the Envelope System, I set a budget of how much I want to spend. Before I go to the store I visit the ATM and take out cash. This also helps from overspending.
    While at the store I stick to my list and try not to add anything to it. As I put an item in the cart I cross it off the list and write the price next to it. Making sure to round everything up to nearest $0.50. Example: If it is $1.05 then I write $1.50 or if it is $3.65 then I write $4. This helps with tax and other expenses (or to help have a few $ left over for emergencies during the week).
    I don't know about you but I find it extremely embarrassing to get to the register and not have enough money to buy your groceries. So once my whole list is crossed off and before I head to the register I go through and add everything up. Sometimes I come up under budget and excitedly go find things to add to my list. If by chance I come up over budget than I decide what in the cart is not necessary and put it back!!

   Another great way to save money is to make things from scratch. A package of cookies at the store cost $3 sometimes $4! I can make cookies for about half that. And they taste better ;) Pancakes, bread, muffins, brownies, etc. There are tons of things that can be made from scratch. Before living in the RV I actually made homemade tortillas! They were cheap to make and tasted DELICIOUS!
    I really hope this post has helped you all to save some dollars! I know it has really helped our family. Before this I would just through whatever in the cart and absentmindedly swipe my debit card. And because I wasn't writing a list I was going back to the store a few times to get 1 or 2 things and would walk out with 7 or 8 things! Or because I didn't have what I needed we would eat out way too often. All of these factors are HUGE MONEY WASTER!!!! I'd love to hear your feed back so feel free to comment or contact me below! Thanks and Happy Thursday!

Meals on a Budget - Week 1

Meals on a Budget - Week 2

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