If you would like the printable grocery shopping book scroll down to the bottom
When going to the grocery store, most people buy enough food for one week. It’s a bad idea as you end up spending more than you initially budget for. However, with these tried and true tips to grocery shop on a budget, you’ll be able to buy more groceries without blowing your budget. You may even save money because grocery shopping on a budget is its own struggle.
Budget for a Month, Shop for Two Weeks
Go through your finances and set a solid grocery shopping budget for one month and split that into two. What I personally do for my family of five is I set a certain amount per person per week.
When setting your monthly budget make sure to budget for perishable items that may go fast in your household. That includes any beverages i.e, milk, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
Grocery Shop with a Plan
When working with a budget, you always want to tackle grocery shopping with a plan in place. Whether that’s through meal plans or restocking your pantry. You always want to go in with a plan.
I recommend sitting down the day before you budget grocery shop and look at everything you need to purchase for the next two weeks, realistically. I say this because most families, even bachelors/bachelorettes can comfortably eat everything bought in that period. with minimal waste if any.
Make a two-week list and stick to it.
Coupon for Items You’re Buying
Couponing doesn’t always work for budget grocery shopping. Sometimes coupons line up with sales so you’re able to get a cheaper price on already rock bottom prices. However, that’s not usually the case.
Most coupons work in a manner that requires you to buy two or more of an item to receive a discount of a certain dollar amount off and/or back. They’re usually for items that are already incredibly expensive, for example, multivitamins that you don’t use, need, or budgeted to buy.
However, if you’re low on deodorant and you snag a .50c off one brand deodorant, definitely use that coupon and budget for that deodorant in your list.
Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan
Before your shop take the time to write out a weekly meal plan. I typically do a two-week meal plan for my family of five. Meal planning allows you to buy the items you need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without blowing through your budget.
There are tons of budget-friendly and family-friendly options available through Yummly. Don’t be afraid to have breakfast for dinner to make your groceries stretch that much more.
Learn to Love Your Leftovers
Cook big meals and then freeze and/or refrigerate them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner the next day to make your grocery budget stretch that much further.
Do this with any leftovers you may have because not only do you save money, you also save time and that can’t be beaten.
Utilize Outdoor Markets
I cannot emphasize this enough. When farmer’s markets get going, which is usually around May/June in most areas, buy your produce and protein there. Not only are they a great way to support local farmers and your community, but you also walk away with some great tasting produce that’s cheaper than conventional grocery stores.
Use Cash, Not Card
Cash is king here. When you use your credit/debit card there is no “real” limit. What I mean by that is if you go over your budget, you just swipe away. However, cash doesn’t work like that. Once you run out of cash that’s it.
When you go into the grocery store with cash in hand you know exactly how much you have to spend, forcing you to stick to your budget while reducing impulse buys you may typically grab when using your card.
Buy Produce That’s in Season
Buying produce that’s out of season usually costs an arm and a leg and typically doesn’t really taste that good. So throughout the year make it a habit to buy produce only when it’s in season because it’s a whole lot cheaper.
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
Never grocery shop when hungry because your stomach drives your experience versus your eyes and brain. Thus ending up with impulsive hunger buys and blowing your budget out of the water.
Give Your Green Thumb A Go
This isn’t for everyone, but if you’re able to grow some vegetables, whether urban garden or backyard bonanza, give it a try. Not only do you save your pockets by eating only in-season produce, but you also save a trip to the grocery store and you get a sense of accomplishment when using your own homegrown produce to feed yourself or your family.
Utilize a Grocery Shopping Book to Track Sales
Grocery stores typically rotate sales on a six week period. So if you see something at rock bottom prices, it’s likely the store is running a sale and that item won’t be that low again for six weeks.
A grocery shopping book is a great way to track sales. When you’re grocery shopping fill out the printable with the date, name of the store, brand you’re purchasing/looking at, price of the item, the price per unit, and any notes you have about it.
What this does is it helps you track when sales are and at what store they’re at. So this way you can stretch your grocery shopping budget even further.
Shop Online and Pick Up in Store
First, check with your local grocery stores to see if this is an option. Not all grocery stores offer to shop online and pick up options.
Doing your shopping online helps to keep you buying only the items you need and helps stop impulsive buys. It also saves you time as you don’t have to go and do the shopping yourself.
Skip the Bags
Buying that already put together bag of lettuce will cost you almost two times what it would for just a head or loose leaf lettuce. Pre-packaged meals and produce cost more than lose produce and ingredients.
Buy Only What You Need
This falls in line with the meal plan. Buy only what you need, or what you will eat comfortably in a two week time period. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like rotting produce stinking up my fridge. If you want to buy ice cream or a snack, make sure you budget appropriately for that.
I use all of the above when I grocery shop and we are on a single income. For my family of five, my grocery bill totals $315 a month and that’s with pullups, diapers, and formula included.
Formula, pullups, and diapers are bought in bulk once a month keeping my costs at $67. The remaining monthly budget is allocated to food as I make most of my cleaning supplies, dishwashing detergent, dish soap, and laundry detergent. If you want to make your own homemade laundry detergent, I have a recipe for you!
Below you’ll find the grocery shopping book that I use to track sales and my grocery spending.
Just click the download link and print as many pages as you need. The book is in size A4 to fit most planners.