How to Save Money on Groceries - Part 1 (Plan Ahead to Save Money)

trishasaccount By trishasaccount, 17th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Money>Money Saving Tips

My household of myself, my boyfriend, 3 dogs, and preparing for our first child, manages to survive on roughly $40 to $50 per week. This requires diligence, a moderate time commitment (which decreases as you become familiar with the process), and a desire to provide for your family without spending a lot of money. This article does not involve coupons or price books. Stay tuned.

Step One: Stop Shopping Week-to-Week

This will be a process because--like many of you--there is only so much you can plan before you think, "Oh crap, I forgot the ___" and your budget is blown. But that is where you start. You will begin by tacking on an extra $10-15 per week to your budget to build your stockpile. Don't worry, this amount will disappear after a month and often can be pulled from other places in your budget (e.g. skip the gourmet coffee, no fast food, skip the restaurants, cut down on outings, etc...).

If your budget is already stretched thin, stay turned for my future posts on getting more out of what you already buy, and substituting your choices during a routine grocery shop. But for now, let's just assume you will tack on an extra few dollars temporarily in the beginning.

Step Two: Use Your Weekly Circulars to Plan Your Weekly Menu

Once your store circulars are issued, this is what you will use to plan your menu (or at least part of it to start). List what you will eat for 7 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts. This will involve you to look at several things:

Do you see any non-candy, non-snack items that are on "Buy-One-Get-One-Free" sale? (e.g. frozen pizza, frozen dinners, bagels, sandwich meat, cheese, etc...)
Do you see any produce on sale? (Your sale produce needs to be your produce staple for the week)
Check out sales on non-perishable items (or items with a long shelf-life). (e.g. pasta, pasta sauce, soups, etc...)

Plan to insert these items for at least one breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert this week.

Step Three: Buy for 1 Extra Week or More (Up for $10-15)

Pick the item or two from your previous list that is on the best sale. Buy several of these items. So, for instance, if you happen to see 1 lb. boxes of pasta on sale for $1, buy 5 and 5 sauces on sale. And here is where the magic comes :)

Remember that menu plan and the excessive quantity of the pasta (e.g.) that you just purchased? Well, you have just save a few dollars by substituting it for dinner one day this week, and guess what? You can substitute it for dinner once per week for the next 4 weeks as well. This will free up 4 dinners of impulse-buying and you now can spend the money you have saved to stockpile another item.

Step Four: Rinse and Repeat

And this is how it works. Each time you find a pantry or freezer staple on sale, you will be able to stock up on a month's worth at a time and substitute it in your menu plan. Repeat this process weekly for a month and you will have cut down on your grocery budget by over 1/3. Four days out of every week's menu plan will now be covered by sale items that save you tremendous money.

*This article will be part of a series.*


Grocery Shopping, Saving Money, Saving Tips

Meet the author

author avatar trishasaccount
I'm a 32-year-old mother, teacher, nonprofit worker, partner, and all-around exhausted woman. But there's no sense in complaining when life is so much stinkin' fun.

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author avatar Clarence Schreiber
18th Apr 2014 (#)

A very useful tips. Thanks for sharing them.

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