Turns out, spending $175 a month on groceries is weird.
Most couples spend between $300 and $400 a month on groceries. Many spend much more. My wife and I eat well on $175 a month without using coupons, price matching, or rain checks.
How do we do it? First a few caveats:
- This works because we don’t have kids. However, this advice will save you money; you’ll just spend more than us.
- Do everything. Skipping steps will cost you money.
Eat Well On $175 A Month
Make A List – Always have a grocery list before leaving home. Impulse buys are a grocer’s bread and butter. Beat them by making a list and sticking to it.
Have A Weekly Budget – My wife and I budget $30 a week on groceries. Having a limit forces us to be specific about what we buy and forces us to think through our list.
Use Cash – I take $30 in cash with me to the store. I never go over budget because I only have $30 dollars. If I get $31 in food, I put something back. This part is difficult, but will save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Use a Calculator – My wife and I use a calculator to make sure we’re staying on budget with every item we buy.
Buy Versatile Food – Cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sliced meat, eggs and pasta are versatile – you can use them for a variety of dishes. Buy foods that can be mixed and matched to make different dishes and you’ll save money on groceries.
Get Creative – Take what you have and play around with new dishes. My McMuffins don’t come from McDonalds; I toast an english muffin, fry an egg, cook ham, and add a bit of cheese. My grilled cheese sandwiches have red bell peppers, tomatoes, or ham to add flavors. Pasta is mixed with cheese, vegetables, and spices to make new dishes. Ho-hum meals are fantastic at my house because we get creative and try new things.
Prioritize Essentials – Buy the things you need first. My wife and I eat grapes every day, so we always buy grapes. We also like salads and sandwiches so bread and vegetables are at the top of the list. Sometimes we don’t buy everything we want but we always have everything we need.
Bulk Up On Essentials – A $5 pack of thick sliced ham will last over a month and work in several dishes. The big, $5 dollar, jar of peanut butter will last 3 to 4 four months. A 4-pack of stick butter will last over a month. Purchasing essentials in bulk costs more now and saves money over time.
Buy Non-Food Groceries Separately –We budget $25 a month for things like toilet paper, deodorant, and trash bags. Like essentials, we buy in bulk which costs more now, but keeps us stocked for months.
Learn To Cook – The lost art of cooking will save you hundreds. Americans eat out 4.7 times a week. I don’t have to tell you the eating out costs way more than eating in. Plus, cooking has brought my wife and I closer together while allowing us to be more creative.
Shop At Wal-Mart – It doesn’t have to be Wal-Mart, but don’t shop at Albertson’s, Tom Thumb, or Whole Foods. They cost more for the same food. My wife and I cut out food bill in half by switching to Wal-Mart from Whole Foods.
How do you save money on groceries?