budgeting

How To Grocery Shop On A Budget

grocery shopping on a budget

Making a budget for yourself is one thing but sticking to it throughout the chaos of life is a whole new ball game. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the various expenses you need to keep track of, such as rent, utilities, credit card payments, title loans, transportation, and more. When you are stressed by money, it can be easy to let things slip through the cracks.

Groceries are a major monthly expense, and it can be easy to simply grocery shop without a budget set in place. But you have to be so careful with every purchase, because before you know it, you’ve spent a fortune on groceries.

Setting a Budget for Grocery Shopping

Below are a few pieces of helpful advice for how to grocery shop on a budget:

  1. Go After You’ve Eaten

Don’t go grocery shopping while you are hungry! You will want to buy everything in sight regardless of the cost. Always do your grocery errands after you’ve eaten a full meal.

  1. Make a List Before You Go

Make a grocery list before you step foot in the store. Having a list and sticking to it will prevent you from getting drawn in by everything that looks good and appetizing. Knowign what you need to meal prep can help you avoid picking up items you don’t need–like a box of Fruit Gushers.

  1. Have a Grocery Day

Plan a specific day of the week to go grocery shopping. Leave space and time for it so you aren’t frazzled. This way you can budget monthly but shop weekly and no more.  You will stick to just what you need and not feel rushed.

  1. Make Enough for Leftovers

Buy enough for your planned meals to have leftovers. Use those leftovers for lunches and snacks so you avoid prepackaged foods or eating out.

  1. Shop with a Calculator

Keep track of how much money you are putting into your cart by carrying around a calculator. If you add up each thing you add to your cart, you will think twice about that box of gourmet cookies no one really needs.

  1. Get More Creative with Your Cooking

Learn how to cook fun and delicious dishes with inexpensive foods. Tap into other cultures and cuisines to find ways to cook filling meals with rice, noodles, beans, potatoes, and other cheap items.

  1. Figure Out which Stores are Cheapest

Is your typical grocery store the most economical? Look into bargain stores and consider switching your mainstay to a place like Aldi.

  1. Go with Generic

Brand name usually doesn’t mean much of anything. Typically, the ingredients or components are exactly the same in the store’s generic option. Go generic and save money.

  1. Use Coupons When Available

You don’t have to become a crazy coupon clipper to take advantage of the very real deals you can get with coupons. Grab them when you see them and use them for items you would be buying anyway. Especially if you are buying in bulk for holidays or parties.

  1. Don’t Shop When You’re Tired

Just like you shouldn’t shop when you are hungry, don’t shop when you are tired. When you are tired, your eyes will automatically go to all the premade, prepackaged, and frozen meals. If you are energetic, you will be far more likely to be motivated to cook your own meals so that you aren’t as tempted by those expensive ready-made items.

Be diligent and follow these strategies on how to grocery shop on a budget. You may be surprised how a few small changes can make a big improvement in your overall finances.

Photo credit: Angela J.

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About the author

Rachel Slifka

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