For my first episode in the MINDFUL SPENDING series on IGTV I tackled grocery shopping. For our family of 5, food makes up a huge portion of the money we spend each month and I can image it is the same for your family. If you are needing some helpful tips on how to create a food budget, stay in that budget, and be more mindful of how you are spending your money, hopefully the tips I've listed below will be useful.
You can find the video version of this on my Instagram by clicking IGTV.
1. GIVE YOURSELF A WEEKLY FOOD SPENDING LIMIT. (minute 0:34)
The best way to determine your grocery spending budget is to figure out how much you spend on a daily basis on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. My personal budget is $30 a day (that is for feeding 5 mouths) and I also give myself an additional $50 for household essentials. Our kids eat the same dinner with us every night (meaning I don't cook something separate for them), but they do eat like kids for breakfast and lunch and snacks (cereal, PB+J with apples, etc.)
I buy for 6 days and then on the 7th day we either order in or eat out.
2. PLAN + MAKE A LIST (minute 1:47)
This is probably the most important step to staying on budget. Start by deciding what you will have for dinner each night. Then break down the ingredients you will need to make that meal. Do this until you've completed your list for the week, adding in things to buy for snacks and anything additional you need for household supplies.
3. MAKE ONLY ONE TRIP - SHOP FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK (minute 3:01)
I do my absolute best to make only one trip for the entire trip. Occasionally I will make an extra trip for produce, but I have learned any extra trips to the store during the week usually make me spend way more than I intended.
4. SHOP ONLINE + PICK UP AT STORE. (minute 3:59)
There are several reasons why shopping online and picking up at the store is a great option. The pick up option is only a minimal charge and in many cases free depending on the amount of money you spend. Delivery services usually up charge the product which will end up costing more money overall.
Shopping online is extremely convenient and you can easily stick to your list. A hungry tummy won't tempt you and you can check your I kitchen for items you already have and will not overbuy. Because everything is right there at your finger tips you can check to see what is on sale and apply digital coupons if available. Online shopping makes it easy to check sale items and use digital coupons. No clipping you just load them to your card and save!
TIP: Even if you don't have the option to pick up delivery at the store, I suggest creating a "dummy account" on one of the grocery store websites and enter your list so you can get an idea of how much you would spend each week.
5. START ELIMINATING. (minute 5:29)
Once you've made your list, and entered it all onto your online shopping store, see if it matches to your spending allowance. If not, start eliminating.
The first thing to go should be anything with no nutritional value - cokes, cookies, chips, etc. If you don't think giving these things up as an option, then limit yourself to one of each and try to extend them for an entire week. Next, look to see if you can find more cost effective options. For example, try buying the store brand of things like canned goods, coffee, paper products, etc. If you still need eliminate more, think of reworking your meals with more cost effective meat options.
Should I buy in bulk??? (minute 7:42)
For our family specifically, I have found buying in bulk usually ends in waist. Not only are we limited on storage space, I'm not the best at remembering to thaw out meats. I found I would forget to take out something for dinner and then have to make a trip to the store. I do however find bulk buying more budget friendly with paper products and pantry items.