I’m glad to be back on my posting, after a week and half of illnesses in the family we are starting to feel better and everything is getting back to normal!
As you all know one of my goals for this year is to cook more and to stick to our budget. Although reducing our monthly grocery budget was not part of the plan, I’ve noticed we have spent less on groceries in the past few weeks with little effort. This has been a great unexpected bonus and I want to share how I was able to cut our grocery budget just by following these 3 simple principles.
Establishing a budget
If you don’t have a budget you can easily be spending more money than you think on your grocery shopping. Having a grocery budget helps you to stay on track and give you some boundaries when it’s time to go shopping. When establishing a budget, be realistic! Check how much you have been spending in the last 4-6 weeks. Average the amounts and start with that number. You can even set a less amount but don’t over do it.
I know I’ve been talking a lot about planning your meals but it’s been a great discipline in my family. When you plan your meals you can go to the grocery store with a purpose and buy the things you are actually going to use. Also you won’t have to run to the grocery store at the last minute because you are doing pasta and run out of sauce. I can’t count how many times in the past I went grocery shopping and ended up eating outside the very next day because there was nothing decent to eat at home. Every week I used to throw away a lot of food and I was wasting money too. The sad thing about it is that I was not the only one. “A federal study found that 96.4 billion pounds of edible food was wasted by U.S. retailers, food service businesses and consumers in 1995 — about 1 pound of waste per day for every adult and child in the nation at the time. That does not count food lost from farms and by processors and wholesalers.” No wonder why we are on economic crisis!
I first hear about stockpiling when I started reading about couponing. Stockpiling is basically the art to accumulate items you are going to need in a future. According to experience couponers, sales of products go in cycles. Once every 3 to 4 months these items go into their lowest sale prices. During that time you want to buy enough items to last until the item is on sale again. You don’t have to use coupons to apply the same principle. However stockpiling can be dangerous since you can end up wasting food you don’t use. That is why I have a list of the 20 items I use most. This are my personal staples and every time I see them going on sale I buy enough to last a couple of months. For example, this week Carlos’ favorite cereal is on sale so I will buy 16 boxes. Although that might be a huge amount for some families that is just about a 3 month supply in my family. I will be saving about 90% since I’m using coupons but even without the coupons I could have saved about 60% just by buying the items I use the most when they are on sale.