Remember when “extreme couponing” was the thing? We would all gaze at the “crazy coupon” lady as she bought $500 in groceries and ended up paying only $5. While I won’t be telling you how to buy 100 deodorants for a dollar. I will share some things that I do to feed my family of four on a budget–$300 a month.
1. Set a budget
Yes you have to do this! This is a non negotiable. We have a budget of $150 every two weeks. I use $100 at the actual super market and $50 on meat and produce. At first I thought my husband was insane for suggesting such a meager budget for food. Prior to setting a budget I used to shop on an “as needed” basis. For example, if I was making Sheppard’s pie and realize that I have no potatoes, without hesitation I would head to the store and end up buying, cookies, juice, milk, eggs, and oh yeah the potatoes. We used to spend at least $600 in groceries doing this method. If you have a budget you are forced to think twice about what you need as opposed to what you want.
2.Make a list
This is the most important step to budgeting. Not making a shopping list is like jumping in the car and driving with no destination in mind. Without a list you will go over your budget and end up getting what you’re craving on the spot rather than the necessities. What we do in my house is keep an ongoing list on the refrigerator. This way if I’m out of something it’s on the list. I also think of at least 8 dinner ideas that I may cook in the next two weeks and add any ingredients needed to the list.
3.Choose your stores and Look in your sales papers for deals.
My favorite grocery store to shop at for all things except produce and deli items is Winn Dixie. Don’t judge me. I know they may not stack up to their competitors, but they are definitely my favorite. Winn Dixie has their Saturday and Sunday deals, fuel perks (I once saved $1 off the gallon) and their BOGOs are awesome. Whatever store you shop at, look for their deals and make sure to add it to your list. A great app for this is Flipp. They have all the ads for all your favorite stores. It’s easy and in the palm of your hands. It’s okay to shop at more than one store if you have the time and patience (I love Walgreens as well). Lastly, it’s important to notate next to each item on the list any specifications.
4. Clip Coupons
This is the part that I love. Clip all coupons and keep them in a bag, a pouch, a file folder, or whatever works for you. I’m currently using a diaper container. Go through your coupons and see if there is anything you can use. For the app savvy shopper Flipp also allows you to clip, match, and store coupons on your store cards. The worse thing to see is the shopper who is flipping in the sales paper on the spot at the check-out they more than likely will not save much.
5. Be a prepared shopper
Grab your list, pencil, money, bags, coupons and phone (for your apps) and head to the store. While you’re there remember to stick to your list and budget. I must say that this is not a great time to be on your phone. You want to be in and out, but you also want to not go over your budget.
6. Join a produce co-op
Co-ops are awesome! In a nutshell a co-op is operated by a person who works with farmers and different businesses. Their goal is to get fruit and vegetable in the consumers’ hands for cheaper than the supermarket price. In my produce co-op I can get a medium bin for $20 or a large for $30. The produce last my family around 2 weeks. I am currently a part of the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op and it’s run by Cassie Adams.
7. Go to a meat store
Yes I know meat stores have a very potent smell (as expected), but the quality and quantity of the meat surpasses that of our friendly grocer. For instance, I never by chicken wings from the grocery store for the mere fact that it’s overpriced. I can get a case of wings that will feed my family for $5 at the meat store. My favorite meat store is the Riverview Fresh Market. They are fairly new, always packed, and the price is always right.
8. Have fun
Try not to look at it as a dreaded task, rather look at it as your time to yourself (with out the kiddos if possible). I enjoy grocery shopping. I love finding my deals and seeing that I’m able to stay inside our set budget.
What tips can you add to this? Sound off below.