If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I like to take a no-nonsense approach to most things. I’m always looking for the most simplistic way to get a job done.
So it should come as no surprise to you that I’m not a fan of the traditional methods of budgeting for groceries. I want the maximum amount of savings with the minimum amount of effort. You with me? Let’s do this…I’m ready to spill all my secrets.
CLEAR THE PANTRY
Once a week, have a meal where you use up any leftover ingredients you have in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. Get creative! You can use veggies or meat for a stir fry, add cheese for a casserole, or toss it all into a tomato- or broth-based soup. Some folks call it a “garbage” meal because you use up all your extras. (I promise, it tastes better than it sounds!)
MAKE MEALS STRETCH
Add veggies wherever possible, make extra portions to freeze, and don’t skip the side dishes. I used to only focus on the main dish, but now I make sure there’s at least one side dish for each meal. Generally, they are made up of less expensive ingredients and they help to fill up the fam’. Veggies are your BFF when it comes to making meals hearty, yet budget-friendly, and they can really make a meal stretch. You’ll definitely find yourself with more leftovers!
I am not a traditional coupon-clipper. However, once digital coupons came onto the scene, I was intrigued. Simply click on a coupon and the website does all the work for you?! I’m in! Such an easy way to save money on groceries.
Part of the reason that I don’t clip traditional coupons is that they often aren’t for items that I typically purchase. The Family Dollar® Smart Coupons site was full of coupons for products that we use in our household every day. Plus, they even send you emails with more savings on brands that you love. Awesome! Talk about simplifying my life.
PICK YOUR PRIORITIES
Be choosy about which products you stock up on. For instance, we rarely buy beverages at the grocery store. We’re more of a water (& coffee!) family. However, my family loves cereal, and we keep several varieties on hand at all times. Figure out what’s important to your family, and spend accordingly.
Along with your “clear the pantry” night, try a vegetarian meal once a week. There are plenty of hearty veggie-based meals that are so filling, you won’t miss the meat! If your family is really craving steak, than go for it. Otherwise, try a cheaper cut of meat and tenderize it in the slow cooker or oven. It’s a great way to make your money go further.
Honestly, it’s one of the best ways to watch your bottom line when buying groceries for the household. Making a plan and sticking to a grocery list helps you to avoid the temptation to grab over-priced convenience items or impulse buys. And you’ll be less likely to overspend because you’ll be purchasing exactly what you need. Be sure to plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. It sounds old-fashioned, but it works like a charm… make a meal plan and make it work for you.
BUY BRAND NAMES
There are exceptions to the rule, but generally I end up using more product with generic brands. Quality matters, especially when it comes to toiletries.
I like to purchase our favorites from Family Dollar®, where I can save big with Family Dollar® Smart Coupons. I stock up on all our grocery basics!
Want to learn more about how to save money on groceries? Check out the ever-popular “Lazy Girls’ Guide to Saving Money on Groceries”