It should be no surprise that when you’re on a budget it really pays to plan your meals. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the store choosing convenience items or the first thing that you see which is not always the best value (or best for your body!). I’m all for saving money wherever I can, so if you’re also looking for ways to spend less without sacrificing taste with the meals you make for yourself or family, read on for some ideas for grocery shopping on a budget.
Shop the sales.
This may sound obvious but when you find a good sale, take advantage of it! When you plan your meals, you can plan the menu based on what is on sale that week. I especially like to take advantage of seasonal produce that is on sale. Beyond just making them a snack or side dish, I like to find ways to incorporate them into a recipe. Check out these 10 Beginner’s Tips to Meal Planning Like a Pro for ideas if you’re unsure how to get started meal planning.
Don’t be afraid to shop around.
There are some stores that I have learned over the years have better prices than others on some of my favorite grocery items. One way I’ve learned to keep track of this is to write it down. I keep a note going on my phone the different prices and at what store then I add them to a spreadsheet that I keep on my computer. I might only focus on a certain item or category of items at a time and after a while, I’ve memorized many of them so I know how to recognize a good deal when I see it!
Stock up when you find a good deal.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the Shop the Sales tip. When you find a good deal, stock up! For example, when chicken breasts go on sale, I’ll stock up then grill them and store them in the freezer so I can add them to all kinds of recipes like soups, casseroles, salads and more! Recently, I stocked up on avocados that were a great deal! We love avocados in salad, on toast or in smoothies so I was very happy to find a deal like this. These 6 Tips for Freezer Meal Success may come in handy as you prep ingredients to use later which ultimately saves you money AND time!
Shop at wholesale stores.
Yes, even if you have a small family, you really can save money shopping at warehouse stores. But deciding what to stock up on depends on a few things. I like to buy organic chicken breasts in bulk because I can divide them up and store them in the freezer until I’m ready to use. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great value at the warehouse club versus traditional grocery stores. Check out 10 Frozen Fruits and Veggies to Always Have on Hand for ideas on how to use them up. Don’t have the space to store a lot? Consider splitting your purchases with a friend or family member to spread the savings.
Make sure you use what you have bought.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but how often do you toss out the last of the corn or find shriveled apples at the back of the fridge? Planning your meals helps with this because ideally when you know what you have, you’re more likely to incorporate it into your weekly menu. Produce for Kids has a weekly meal planner you can download for free. We like to add all kinds of fruits and vegetable to our salads too. These 8 Tips for Eating More Salads may give you a few new ideas! Don’t have time to use everything up? Toss your leftover veggies into a labeled freezer bag and pull them out when you need to make homemade chicken soup from scratch. Or puree them, freeze in ice cube trays and add them to soups or smoothies.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you learn how to save time and money in the kitchen and still eat well on a budget!