5 Ways to Stick With Your Grocery Budget


For most people, one of the big variables in their budget is grocery spending. Whether you have a lot of wiggle room in your spending or not, it is generally good practice to work with a budget and stick with it. I always strive to spend less, and if I succeed in that, the extra money can go to something else, like a family night out or my favorite bag of chocolate truffles.

If you’ve already set a budget but have been having a hard time sticking with it, here are some things to think about.

Consider if You’ve Set the Right Amount

If you find yourself always going over budget, maybe your amount is just too low. Be realistic. Consider what staples you normally buy. Observe prices and sale cycles. You can start higher than what your end goal is and keep bringing it down as you figure out your groove.

Check Your Pantry


Have you every bought sugar or some other item but didn’t realize there was already an unopened bag hidden in the back of the pantry? Before making your list, take a quick inventory of your pantry and refrigerator to avoid overbuying. And sometimes, you’ll find that you can already make a few meals with the items that you already have on hand.

Create a Shopping List

shopping list

I rarely go to the store without a shopping list, but the times that I have gone without it, I have always purchased more than what I intended. And be strategic when you make your list. If you’re familiar with the layout of your store, make your list according to the path that you want to take. Not only will this save time and not only will this make the shopping experience more pleasant if you have kids in tow, but it will also keep you from wandering into aisles that have products you don’t need.

Cook With Substitutes

One time, I was making something that required buttermilk. I don’t usually have this in my fridge, but after googling “substitutes for buttermilk”, I found that I could easily make some with milk and vinegar. You don’t have to follow recipes exactly. Sometimes you have adequate replacements for certain ingredients within your reach. You and your family may even like your variation better.

Control the Urge to Buy in Bulk

Costco business center

Shopping at warehouse stores can be cost effective, but only if you are aware of some things. If you’re going to buy in bulk, make sure it is something you already use, it has an adequate shelf life, and the cost per unit is really cheaper than those found at your local grocery store. And beware of those sample tables luring you to buy, buy, buy … if you’re shopping on an empty stomach, those food items can be so tempting.

Do you have any tips for sticking with your grocery budget?

If you’re interested in learning how to make the most of your grocery budget, check out Grocery University, a comprehensive audio course on using coupons and other money saving strategies for your next trip to the grocery store. It’s only $9.97 for 19 audio MP3 files, a 40+ page printable workbook, and a rock-bottom price list!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Thank you for your support! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.


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13 thoughts on “5 Ways to Stick With Your Grocery Budget

  1. I don’t have any tips, but starting in January I am looking to spend less on groceries. I thought of buying the Sunday Paper for the coupons, but the paper is too expensive. I want to start sticking to a budget.

    1. I used to buy the paper, but you’re right … it can be pricey. A lot of coupons now are available online. My husband just discovered that his work gets the paper delivered there, including Sundays, so when he goes in to work on Monday, he’s sorting through the recycle bin, looking for the coupon inserts for me. Maybe you can find offices that get the paper and ask for their coupons.

  2. I need to get our spending worked out soon. We are going over often but I am having a hard time figuring out what to cut out. My husband works from home and then I have three kids so we go through a lot of food.
    We follow most of your tips. I would definitely second cooking with substitutes. It can save a lot of money on extra things you don’t really need to have a whole container of.

    1. Do you do an envelope system or cash only? When I really needed to be strict about our budget, I resorted to this. It’s not my favorite way because I don’t really like carrying cash, but it really helped me to stay on budget because I could physically see what money I had leftover. There were things on my list that I would sometimes have to transfer over to next month’s list because I didn’t have enough. It forced me to really see what items we really, really needed that month and what could wait the next month.

    1. Yeah, that’s why it’s important to know the layout of the store. Avoid all the areas where you don’t need to go to. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. You are seriously a wealth of knowledge. I have a printable grocery list template that I always print up before going to the store so that I don’t miss anything. In addition I really try to meal plan to keep myself sane and so that I’m prepared for the week. I feel like meal planning and grocery shopping are a hand in hand kind of deal! Love your posts, Ai. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Melissande! The grocery list template is a great idea! I saw one on my sister’s fridge, and I think I might copy it.

    1. It is hard with the kids in tow ’cause they’re always asking for this and that. I almost always end up buying them some kind of treat, even if just a little one. 🙂

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