Easy Strategies for a Consistent Grocery Budget
By Donna Stark
If you were to look at my grocery budget from month to month, you may end up walking away slightly confused. That's because in some months, it appears that my family and I were living off of bread and water, while other months, it looks like we had won the lottery and were feasting like kings. It was enough to drive me crazy because I didn't always know how to explain the massive difference between the highs and the lows, but what I did know was that keeping my grocery budget consistent was definitely a challenge for me. So what did I do? Well, I learned some new shopping strategies and you can too!
Consistency is Key
We all have those months when our grocery budget is blown to bits, but usually they are planned for. I'm referring to the times when you surprise your spouse with a birthday celebration that blows all the others away, when you host the neighborhood barbecue, or when your child wants to invite 300 to their graduation party. Obviously, those months are going to be an exception, but what about the rest that are just as normal as can be? Why does your budget fluctuate so much? Here are some easy tips on how to keep your grocery budget consistent.
- Planning and saving - Plan your weekly meals and don't let your food go to waste! Save the leftovers for your next day's meals or repurpose them into another delicious recipe.
- Choosing produce - Good intentions can become expensive, especially if they involve spoiled produce, so be practical at the store and buy only what you know will be used. If you still have too much, freeze your fruit before it spoils.
- Buying bulk - Save yourself from spending a lot of extra money by choosing to buy certain foods from the bulk aisle. Flour, oats, rice, and beans are easy choices, but you can do better than that! Don't forget the nuts, dried fruit, and candies as well! Making your own trail mix is a lot less expensive than buying the pre-made ones sitting on the shelf.
- Stocking up - Take advantage of your local market's sales and stock up on non-perishable items or cleaning supplies. You can also buy a membership to a warehouse club, but be careful! Only purchase what you know you will use and don't be tempted by all of the free samples!
Maintain Your Sanity With a Budget
Finding the time and putting in the effort to maintain a consistent budget can be difficult, but the simple tips above can help. So go ahead and give them a try! Because before you know it, those bread and water months will start looking more like steak and potato months!
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