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
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
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?
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