Managing a family budget can be one of the more stressful components of running a household, and anyone who has ever had hungry teenagers knows that food budgets can quickly get out of hand. Here are four things to look at when trying to reduce your monthly grocery bill, while still keeping your family well-fed.
- Track Your SpendingIf you feel like you’re spending more on groceries than you would like, start by tracking what you’re spending, recording where every penny is going. Choose one month where you don’t change your habits at all you simply track what you’re doing. Once you’ve gained a good idea of how much you are currently spending and what your family needs are, it will be easier to look at where you can improve. Next set a goal of where you would like to be. Continue tracking your spending and see if you are able to reach the goal. By tracking you’ll start noticing more how you are spending your money, and mindless purchasing is likely to drop.
- Look for Cheaper Substitutions
Once you’ve nailed down the habit of tracking your grocery spending, start looking at the eating habits in your home. You can start to ask yourself if there are food items you can swap out for a cheaper substitute, or simply make at home. Does your family go through bags of potato chips, or boxes of crackers each week? Look at replacing those savory snack items with something else like air-popped popcorn. Or maybe you family members are all cereal fiends, home-made granola is a good substitution that can easily be made at home for a smaller price and still satisfy that sweet crunchy craving.
- Eat Your Leftovers
Hands down one of the best ways to save money when it comes to your overall grocery budget, is to eat your leftovers. Not only is this strategy more environmentally friendly (think of all the food not going to the dump), you’re also not throwing away the money you spent on it all. If your family is hesitant to eat leftovers, try jazzing them up into something different. Leftover chicken makes great chicken salad, or quesadilla filling. Fruit that is starting to look a little brown can easily be made into a cobbler or crisp with a few pantry ingredients. Keep in mind too that most cooked foods freeze really well, portion out individual servings and freeze them for a rainy day when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Make A Weekly Plan
Ever heard the saying “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.” This saying is also aptly applies to your grocery budget. Make a plan each week for the meals you’ll eat and the food you’ll need. Start looking at ads from local grocery stores and see if you can plan meals around food items that are on sale. Take stock of your pantry or fridge to see if there are items you can use up. Not only will you feel more organized and ready for the week ahead, but you’ll be saving money too.
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