Being a food blogger , content creator and food photographer I buy more groceries than the average person . While this is true I still have a pretty strict budget I stick to . Cooking on a budget can be a challenge, but with a little planning and discipline, it’s possible to enjoy tasty meals without breaking the bank. One of the most effective ways to save money on food is to create a meal plan and stick to it. This means taking some time to think about the meals you want to prepare for the week, and then making a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need. When you go to the grocery store, it’s important to only buy things you’ll actually use in your meal plan, and to resist the temptation to purchase items that aren’t essential. By sticking to a budget-friendly meal plan and only buying what you need, you can keep your food costs low while still enjoying delicious and nutritious meals.
Recently on several social media accounts I asked what everyone liked the least about grocery shopping. Two things that almost everyone said was #1 the cost and #2 crowded stores . I am going to share with you some tips and tricks that some of you may or may not know about.
Finding the least busy times to shop isn’t hard at all. Every store and every city is different so the easiest thing you can do is go to Google and type in the store you like to shop at , the city and busy times . For example -Kroger Sulphur Busy times. It will break down the days and times with a graph illustrating busy times and none busy times . If it is possible try shopping at 7:30 at night instead of at 5Pm .
How to save Money on your weekly Grocery Budget :
- When planning your meals check your grocery ads and see what meat is on sale and try to plan around items on sale
- Try to utilize things you may already have on hand
- When you make a plan or list stick to it
- Only buy what you need and will use
- Avoid too many processed food -they are convenient but costly
- Check your store apps and use coupons that are available
- Check unit prices -Sometimes buying in bulk is worth it, sometimes it isn’t
- If you are an impulse buyer try using your stores pick up services
- Utilize leftovers
- NEVER shop hungry
Let’s talk about each of these things.
- If you have meat with your nightly meal look at your adds and see what meat is on sale. If Chicken is a great price this week , plan one or two meals that have chicken.
- Utilizing what you have on hand . Check your pantry or freezer and plan a meal using something you may have and won’t need to buy much
- Once a meal plan is made stick to it , don’t waste things you have bought
- Only buy what you need , just because something is a great price doesn’t mean you need it .
- Avoid processed foods. Instead of spending almost $5 on a Bag of chips ahoy cookies make homemade cookies.
- Check store apps for coupons .. I love Kroger , they have great coupons and even send me customer appreciation coupons . Check your local stores apps
- Check unit prices- Figure out if something is worth buying in bulk or if you are just paying for a bigger box
- If you are an impulse buyer try using a stores pick up service so you won’t have to go in. It will save you money in the long run
- Utilize leftovers- whether you heat up leftovers or make something new from it don’t let them go to waste. I freeze a lot of leftovers as well
- Never shop hungry – When you are hungry you will tend to over buy
Tools I use All the time
Let me start off by saying this is not a sponsored post . This is all my honest opinion and I am sharing tips and tricks I use all the time .
Flipp is an app that has all the the sales ads within it. Flipp also has a Website but I always you the app. You put in your zip code and it will bring up all of your local store ads. I have saved a few stores I shop at the most . On Wednesday when the new ads populate I will take a look all of the sales. I always look at the things I spend the most money on first , Meat and dairy. Once I get this I will come up with a plan . Flipp is a valuable tool to sticking to a budget
Kroger is my favorite store and their app is something I use on a regular basis . I can only speak about the Kroger app because I use it all the time, but other stores do similar things. Kroger always has digital coupons and once a week they will have coupons that can be used 5 times. This is a great way to buy in bulk . Some of the things I have recently bought using Kroger coupons is Bacon for $4.99 a pound , Butter for $2.49 a box. I use a ton of butter for baking so I know I will eventually use it all . Butter has a pretty long shelf life in the refrigerator but it can be put in the freezer as well. Another thing I never pay full price for is cereal , I always buy it on sale in bulk. Cereal has a pretty long shelve life as unopened but once it is opened I put it in sealed container like this . When my boys were teenagers I always had a few spare gallons of milk in the freezer .
Food Saver Vacuum Sealer
For around $100 you can get a decent vacuum sealer . I bought mine at Wal-Mart and it is nothing fancy but it works well. We use ours on a regular basis when we buy meat on sale . This prevents your meat from getting freezer burned and also makes it easy to stack in the freezer . I even will vacuum seal already cooked meat like pulled pork , brisket , cooked chicken and freeze them to pull out and defrost for an easy week night meal.
Buying meat on a budget and freezing it
- When pork loins on sale you can slice them and make boneless pork chops , not cut into chunks for soups or stews
- Instead of buying beef stew meat buy a beef roast on sale and cut into chunks for stews and soups. Stew meat tends to cost more so cutting your own will save you a little money.
- Buy Ground meat in bulk and freeze in in 1-2 pound pouches
Here is an example of the ad I found on Flipp to our local Rouses, Pork Loins were on sale for $1.77 a pound . I Bought one pork loin for $8.o4 and was able to cut it into 12 chops then vacuum packed 6 per bag. This will provide two meals for my family for around $4 for each meal on the meat.
Budget Friendly Recipe Suggestions
Pork loins or other cuts of pork
- Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Puled Pork
- Pulled Pork Tacos
- Country Style Ribs
- Oven Baked Ribs
- Smothered Pork Chops-This calls for bone in but boneless chops would work as well
- Meatballs and Brown Gravy–
- Baked Ziti
- Beef and Bean Burritos
- One Pot Chili Mac
- Sloppy Joe Casserole
- Hamburger Veggie Soup
- Mexican Shredded Beef for Tacos
- Crock Pot Beef Stew
- Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Slow cooker Mississippi Roast
Other Budget Friendly meals
- Breakfast for dinner -Pancakes , sausage and eggs is something we have a lot at night
- Dried beans – We have red beans and rice often
- French Bread Pizza
- Leftover steak quesadillas