Well, we are one week into our “No Spend September” and man oh man has it been a challenge!! All the awesome Labor Day sales were a real temptation! But, I stayed strong and stayed away! Yay me! I did make a trip to Ikea with my daughter-in-law when we were in St Louis visiting, but I only bought two pillow covers, and I spent my cash allowance. 🙂 Today, however, I’d love to talk about one category of our budget that has always been a stumbling block…food.
Having a big family, I have always spent a lot of money on food. Especially as the kiddos got to be teenagers and never. stopped. eating. Anybody?? Seriously, where do they put all that food??? We have had to get creative over the years, especially during the leaner years. I’ve learned a few things along the way that work for me so I thought today I would share my top 5. Maybe they will be just the thin you need to get you on track!
5. Store apps – More and more now stores are creating their own phone apps. A lot of these apps have special deals only for app users. Most all of them will have their sales listed and maybe even a coupon or two. If you have a favorite store, check and see if they have their own shopping app and download it!
4. Big box stores – Sams has been a huge money and time saver for us over the years. My people are meat eaters, and being able to buy good meat in bulk just makes my life easier. A lot of times the prices are better, but even if they’re not, less trips to the grocery store means less impulse buying. Which leads me to my next tip.
3. Online grocery shopping – If you have a store in your area that offers online shopping, do it! Whether they deliver it to your door, or you have to go to the store and have them load it in your car, it’s so worth it. Most stores don’t charge extra for this service which makes it even better! You can keep a running order on your computer or your phone and pick up whenever you need to. Again, this helps keep me organized and I am less likely to forget something or buy a whole lot of things that I don’t need because I am wandering the aisles hungry.
2. Off brand – I know, I know, so many of you are leaving right now. But hear me out. I have been buying generic for years, and my family knows no different. We were introduced to Aldi several years back and I LOVE it. Like, I tell everyone I know to shop there. I save 40-50% everytime I shop there. I’m not joking. What would be $150 at Walmart (even buying their generic) is $75 at Aldi! I will say that there are a few things that I do prefer certain name brands of, but not much. And, that’s ok! (if the budget allows of course).
1. Meal plan – Yes, this doesn’t have anything to do with shopping or saving money. Or does it? I would argue yes. When I meal plan, I make less trips to the grocery store because I know exactly what I need for the week or the next two weeks. And, when I meal plan, we eat out A LOT less (eating out will kill your food budget in a heartbeat). And yes, if you are trying to eat healthy, you are likely to spend more on food no matter what. But, a healthy meal in is still cheaper than a meal out. End of story. (need some tips on meal planning check out this post)
And my biggest piece of advice would be to do all five! Every little thing adds up and the more measures you take, the more money you will save!!
You might have noticed, I didn’t mention couponing. I know this is a successful tool for many, but for me, it never worked. As I mentioned, I buy a lot of generic items. I tried for a while watching for and saving coupons for the few name brand items I do buy. But, inevitably I would leave said coupons at home. I’m sure there is a more digital way to handle these now. But, I choose not to spend my time on this. If couponing is something that interests you, or you love to buy name brand (and won’t think of budging on that), then I say go for it! Everything helps after all!!
Hope this was helpful! Here’s to another three weeks of saving money!! Have a great weekend my friends. 🙂