In today's economy, it is hard to make money stretch to match your budget. As a mother of two growing children, I've learned the hard way how to do just that. Here are some tips that I've learned along the way.
Planning Your Budget
This is the hardest part of frugal living. Looking in the grocery ads can cause a wave of despair and worry that you won't have enough money. Here are a few tips on planning your grocery budget that may help you stretch your dime into a dollar:
1. Calculations - Figuring out how much money you absolutely need is the key to frugal grocery shopping. Throughout the years, I've found that it takes approximately $30 - $37 dollars a week to feed one person - it may be more or less, depending on how much your family eats and where you live. Here's a good formula to figure out your weekly grocery budget:
(people in the house) x $34 (middle ground) = (have to have for groceries)
For instance, there are four people in my home; I have to have $136 allotted to groceries. With any luck I can bring this down with coupons and store sales.
2. Plan your meals for the week and write them down. Keep them simple: meat, vegetable, carbohydrates. If possible, plan to use the same type of meat twice in one week; you can buy in bulk, which is generally cheaper than buying in small amounts. Hamburger, for example, is a good meat to use twice. One day you can make hamburgers; two days later, you can make tater tot casserole.
3. With your meal plan in hand, make a grocery list using the store ads and write the dollar amount of each item beside it. It's essential to make a list; without it, you end up buying things you don't need, as well as forgetting some things that you do need.
4. Always round up, never down. If you're buying something that's $0.88, write it down as a dollar. We have been tricked by the "Buy a car for only $12,999!" ads into believing that $1.00 is a dollar, but $1.50 is a dollar, also. Those pennies add up; I end up spending $10 to $20 less than I planned to, using this rule.
5. Add up the totals as you go along, keeping in mind your "have to have" amount. Once you have reached that total, stop and check your meal plan. If you're at your "have to have" amount and only have three meals covered, you need to reassess your meal plan; it may be too elaborate.
Although every household has a different level of how much they eat or how many people there are, this is a good start for budgeting groceries. You may have to fiddle with it a little to match your family's needs.
Eating Healthy on a Budget
The plain truth is that it's hard to buy healthy foods when you're on a tight budget; noodles and rice become your main staples. However, being on a tight budget doesn't mean that you can't get the vegetables and fruits you need. The next time you make a grocery list, keep these thoughts in mind:
• Not all vegetables are created equally - meaning that fresh isn't the same as frozen, and frozen isn't the same as canned. Buy frozen if you can't afford fresh. The juice in canned vegetables is where most of your vitamins are. Not so with frozen vegetables; the vitamins are still in the food itself. Buying frozen vegetables generally gives you more for your money as well.
Page 1 of 2 :: First | Last :: Prev | 1 2 | Next