I am sharing with you the way, after 25 years of doing the food shopping for my family, finally have it DOWN to a science!
Menu planning, saving, not many coupons (gasp) and little to no stockpiling.
Little background: our family lives on a "one check a month system". My husband gets paid on the 15th of every month and that's it (been this way for over 13 years). Talk about having to budget your money wisely! That's twelve paychecks a year.
HOWEVER, I budget my "food" money allocation on a weekly basis. I have tried it all...cutting coupons, laying out all the ads, driving to three different stores, food money envelope system and so on...aren't you tired just thinking about it all? I am! But not anymore.
I finally figured out the PLAN! The first part of the PLAN is to HAVE A PLAN!
THE PLAN should include:
Set a budget - if you are weekly, bi-weekly or monthly you need a budget! STICK TO THE BUDGET. It's the only way it will work. My budget (for a family of 5) is $ 120 a week. That $ 120 buys us food (mostly organic and natural) and toiletries. It does not buy us our paper towels, toilet paper and napkins - hubby goes to BJ's for that every 6 weeks. (remember we live 50 miles outside of NYC and gardening is not happening 6 months out of the year).
How do you stick to your budget? By planning out your meals ahead of time and buying what you need for that meal plan.
Make a list - I write down my meal by day on scratch paper. Nothing is ever written in pen...lol (life of a homeschooler). Once I have my weekly menu plan, then I can plug the menu ideas into our calendar. I only plan out the dinners as far as writing them down. I do plan out all meals in my head
My Rules for Food Shopping - RULE 1 - don't go hungry: RULE 2 - GO with your list in hand: RULE 3 - use the list: RULE 4 - don't veer from the list: RULE 5 - don't' go hungry!
Special note: We have a food chain here called Shoprite. They offer a service called, SHOP FROM HOME. This is where you use their website to make your list, submit your list and pick up your groceries at a designated time/date (you pick). There is a $10 per visit fee for this service ONLY if you spend less than $ 100. If you have more than $ 100 in your "cart" then the fee is waived! I love this service, I use this service, I will not shop any other way. It stops me from impulse buys and bringing my 3 kids into the store with me and their impulse buys. You can still use your coupons and your recycled bags.
Next part of the PLAN - COOK! Seems like a no brainer, but so many people don't cook anymore. They "heat up" or "prepare" but I mean cooking from scratch. Believe it or not, it's less expensive to cook from scratch (most of the time) then to buy the processed foods, which are unhealthy anyway.
Ways that help me stick to my weekly budget:
I use Pinterest a lot for new menu ideas. (nothing worse then eating the same thing every week)
We only eat meat (chicken included) 3 times per week as main meals (there are always leftovers).
Our children are not allowed to "graze" all day whenever they want. We have designed snack times (2 times a day) in addition to the 3 balanced meals. They know these times and we rarely veer from them.
We don't eat out much. An occasional pizza (using coupons) or the rare "date night" are when we eat out and when we do, it comes out of my budget or our "entertainment" budget.
I plan my meals.
I spend time in the kitchen preparing my meals using fresh organic ingredients whenever possible.
My goal is for you to get some ideas this month to help make your grocery bill less and eat better!
Until next time - Be Blessed!
This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.