Monday, January 4, 2010

Bringing Down your Monthly Grocery Budget

Over the past couple of months, I have been talking to a bunch of people about their grocery budgets, or lack thereof. What I heard is that those that have a grocery budget, try to stick to it, but feel it's OK to go over about $20 a month and those that have no budget feel they don't know how to get themselves on a budget.

Well, here are some practical steps I took to getting my family on a budget and keeping that budget every month.

1. Make a budget, even if you think it's ridiculous. Before we had our son, I was spending over $100 each week at the grocery store for 2 people. I didn't really use coupons and I didn't pay attention to sales. So as my son's due date approached close and closer, I knew we had to do something so I could stay at home with him. So, I told myself that our budget would be $90 a week (again for the two of us). I did that for a month to see if I could do it and you know what I did it. So then I kept lowering it and lowering it and soon, I was at our current budget of $40 a week, but now it's for the 3 of us.

Even shaving off $10 a week really adds up. That's an extra $520 a year that could be used towards car insurance or whatever else you might need.

2. Start clipping coupons. I heard from my friend that she's picky in terms of the groceries she buys and cannot clip coupons because there aren't any for what she needs them for. OK, I say. But are you picky about what kitchen cleaner you use? The Sunday coupons are generally heavy with cleaners, personal hygene & yes, food products. If you aren't picky about the cleaners, start clipping those coupons. Use them when they are on sale to get a greater impact on your grocery budget.

I used to think I wouldn't use any of the coupons in the paper until I started looking at them each week to see and compare what I bought each week.

Also, did you know most companies post printable coupons on their websites? So, if you have a food allergy or like to buy organic, then check out their website for either printable coupons or sign up for their mailings or emails and they will either send them to you in the mail or email you about promotions, like printable coupons.

3. As I said above, pair coupons with sales. I have scored a lot of free or under $1 name-brand items this way.

4. Take it slow. If you don't have a budget, try one for a couple of weeks and go from there. If you do have a budget, try not to go over for a couple of weeks. Also, if you know there will be a time when your food bill will be more, say like around the holidays or so, factor that in to your budget.

No comments: