While saving money is great, and we all know that in this world it can be really hard with the cost of living going up and wages staying stagnate. But the best thing to do is look at your bills and see what things you can impact and what bills you can trim. When I sit down to budget, I go over the controllable variables. Sadly, the US believes that each person in a household will consume around $200 worth of food a month. This is INSANE, unless you are having prime cut steak and calamari every meal then you can slice that price in half. Here are my tips I used to keep my household bill around $75 a person or $100 while pregnant 🙂
1.NO NAME BRANDS
Stop being so loyal to brands that do not care about your wallet. If you were to step into my kitchen you may be able to recognize 3 brands from my pantry. This is because I am not paying full price to have hunts over great value. I love cooking and I love fresh ingredients but when it comes to pantry items there is truly no need to pay the extra. When you are out of debt, have money saved, and are constantly building wealth then yes go back to your name brands. But in this moment of saving money, cut the name brand and leave the kraft on the shelf. I have notice with young people this step is not so hard, but my older audience has a big issue with it. My grandma will not for the the life of her buy off brand ANYTHING.
2.MEAL PLAN LIKE CRAZY
I love meal planning, and I understand the time it takes to do this, however the savings is unreal. I even have a meal planning board in my kitchen that has 1 week worth of meals. I sit down by looking at what produce is on sale. This allows me not only to have different meals throughout the week it allows me to cook cheaper. If chicken is on sale then most likely the week will be full of chicken recipes. Once I check out all sale ads in my area (use this app if you don’t get ads mailed to you flipp). I then make a list. If you are shopping without a grocery list then you have added on about $25-$50 to every trip. Having a list and sticking to it, keeps you focus and your money in your pocket.
Here is an example of my weekly meal planning:
Monday-Black bean soup (no meat Monday)
Tuesday-Keywest chicken and shrimp
Thursday-stuffed bell peppers
Friday-Enchiladas with rice
Sunday-Spaghetti with squash and zucchini
Now is coupons for everyone? No, but it can make a difference here are a few apps I used that make coupons less coupon “like.”
ibotta this app is relatively popular. You wont have to cut anything to bring to the store. It has special offers on products, or just certain foods. You just shop like normal then when you go home upload your receipt and scan the products you bought and it will give you cash back. I have received $95.37 since I have been using the app so its worth looking into.
Checkout51 This app is the same as ibotta but it doesn’t have as many offers. Still worth using you just wont make as much money back.
Coupons.com This is your normal clip and take coupons to the store method. However if you don’t get a newspaper you can just go online. I use this when I shop at target, it helps on diapers and wipes. Or products you buy name brands on.
Cartwheel I love this app, you just scroll the app look at the deals and add them to your “wallet” no need for cutting. I save soo much money with this app its crazy. The bad thing is it only works at target. Many people will tell you target cost too much, but if you use all the apps I stated above you will find its cheaper.
4. SHOP AT ALDI
If you have an Aldi near by then become BFF with it. My husband loves aldi he always says if they had a sweatshirt he would rock it everyday lol. This store will be even cheaper than the lowest cost at walmart. They only have Canadian brands so therefor the whole store is off brand. The first time I went in I hated it, I then googled it and figured out why it was the way it was, and fell in love. You have to use a quarter to get a basket, but this is so they don’t have to pay someone to collect carts, which they then push the savings onto you. They do not have free bags, this helps in profit. They make small little changes like this to keep dropping the price of the items in the store. I only buy pantry items from here as I like my fruits and vegetables from sprouts (an organic farmers market like store).
5.COOK FROM SCRATCH
At first this may be really hard in the beginning, but after a while it will become natural to you. With Pintrest and Youtube around there is no reason for you not to know how to make things. The best way to figure out what to cook from scratch is to look at what your family loves to eat and see if it makes sense to cook it from scratch. Salsa, Salad Dressing, lemonade, Guacamole, desserts, pancakes, specialty coffee these are the things I make. Also, I will make all my baby food from scratch, the savings is ridiculous. To make the transition fun, grab your family and make it a tradition, or call it your secret sauce. I have my own brand in my kitchen its called the Georges brand!
6. START A FOOD PANTRY
This is my favorite, and every pantry should fit your families needs. Of course you should have the staple items like flour, sugar, canned food. However look at what you eat a lot of and when it goes on sale go crazy. I keep items like rice, quinoa, black beans in canisters. I cook many Mexican dishes, they are cheap and delicious. So my pantry has tortilla chips, rotel, corn and flour tortillas. It has been a life saver especially in the cold months. I can always make black bean soup and a quesadilla.
Before I got pregnant, me and husband once a week had a meatless Mondays. Not only did it save us money, it was fun to try different recipes. Not having meat 4 times a month will save you so much money and will allow you to explore different ways to cook food. A few staple ideas I cook are, black bean soup, cheese quesadillas, stir fry, stuffed peppers with quinoa. Go on pinterest and look up vegetarian meals and enjoy!!!
8. NO LEFTOVERS FOR LUNCH
So many of us will make enough food to where we have leftovers, we normally then eat them the next day for lunch. While this is easier the math on this does not add up. Dinner cost more to make so when you opt to eat your leftovers rather than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich you have spent more money. Strive to only have a few options for lunch that are cheap and easy to make. Example, peanut butter and jelly, chicken salad, baked potato, or soup. All these options barely cut unto my budget and allow more room for dinner. Plus lunch shouldn’t be that heavy anyway.
I want people to understand that saving money is something that takes time and knowledge. See what works for you and what doesn’t. Last year I tried the cash system and let me tell you that was a mess, my family spent more money than normal. I soon realized, okay this is not something for me. Try new ways and cater them to what works for you and what you are comfortable with. Saving money on your groceries however will take time but at the end of the month you will see the savings. Make sure you see how much money you were spending on average each month. Then make it a goal each month to shave a certain amount off your bill until you meet your goal. Strive to get your bill to $75-$100 a person. Good Luck and let me know how it goes!
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