Something that crops up in my Facebook feed every now and then is one of my friends asking for ideas on how to save money...usually specifically on groceries. While I don't claim to know everything, I do have some experience, so I decided to share what has worked for me.
Set a Goal
Last year I challenged myself to start keeping my grocery budget at $50 per week. I had read all kinds of blogs that were doing $300, $250, and $200 per month, and I was thinking that there was no way I would be able to come close. Our food budget at the time for two people was $400 per month. I was aiming to slash it in half.
Now I'm sure some of you are wondering why I would try this goal when I was almost certain that I would fail. The reason is that I felt that I needed to try. Even if I failed at $50 per week, I was sure I would save some money simply by trying. I chose a specific goal to give me something concrete to aim for rather than the ambiguous "Save Money."
I got a few negative reactions when I mentioned this goal to people. They were concerned that I was not eating healthy, or enough. Granted, I was pregnant at the time, and that was a concern. The thing is, I was eating really well, possibly even better than I had been on the larger budget.
Cook From Scratch
One of the biggest things, and this could help anyone, is that I started cooking mostly from scratch. Pinterest was a wonderful resource for recipes to make homemade versions of my favorite convenience foods. I've made Hamburger Helper, Rice-a-Roni, Pasta-Roni, macaroni and cheese, even my own "cream of" soups all from scratch. It's not much more trouble than from the box, and it's so much healthier for you. And cheaper. Always remember that. It's cheaper.
You can check out my personal board for this below. I've indicated which recipes I've already tried.
Follow Ashley's board DIY Mixes on Pinterest.
Take Advantage of Sales
So I was buying mostly staples, meat, and produce. I shop predominately at Aldi and Sprout's. Aldi has wonderful prices on almost everything--although I keep a running list of what is cheaper at Walmart. Sprout's sales on meat and produce are wonderful, and the quality is outstanding. Even if you don't have those stores in your area, most grocery stores have weekly sales ads. You can check your newspaper, but most stores are now putting their ads on their websites for even easier access
If you don't have a great deal of freezer storage, meal planning is probably a really good idea. Fortunately I have a deep freezer that allows me to stockpile, so I don't have to be quite so rigid in my meal plans. I slowly built up my freezer and now it's pretty full of meats and vegetables that I can pull out to make a quick meal.
So there you have it. My best advice based on my experience saving money on groceries. Set a goal, take advantage of sales, and cook more from scratch. Doing this, I did manage to hit my goal of $50 per week on groceries. I actually kept it closer to $40 per week on average. Sweetie was pleasantly surprised with my success. I hope this has given you some ideas to save money yourself, or even just encourage you in your quest to pinch those pennies just a little tighter.