I have been terrible lately at keeping our grocery budget where it needs to be, downright have not even tried. I've been buying chips and all kinds of nonsense that is not needed. So, my plan is to dial it back and follow a budget from here on out. Now, I don't foresee going back to our $50 per week budget, but at least $75-$100. We did $50 per week when I was nursing the baby exclusively and now he eats table food so that $50 just is not enough anymore. With that being said I will share with you my strategy for keeping within my budget, without having to shop at 10 stores, without extreme couponing... (maybe just a little couponing...).
New Years Resolution
Alright, so I am terrible at New Years Resolutions. Really terrible. Half of the time I don't even make one. For 2017 I have several and they all include bettering myself in many different aspects of my life. For example, one of my resolutions is to decrease anxiety. Well, how do you do that? Simple. I sign up for yoga. For an entire year. Thankfully there's a yoga studio about 1 mile away from my house so that will definitely help with keeping that goal. My most important goal is to save money. For the last 2 years we've had a rough time financially. I lost my job, we had a baby, I continued to stay home...insert student loan payments, car payments, mortgage, you get the picture. So, I really need to work on keeping this budget. I can do it, I just have to have some focus. Ready, let's go.
Basically in order to plan for the week I first start with my list. I immediately jot down items that are needed no matter what. For example, bananas. My husband takes a banana to work every day. Our baby loves bananas. So, they have to stay. Another thing that we always buy is milk. 2 gallons at least. We get skim for us and our older son and whole milk for our 18 month old. We also get orange juice which usually will last us about 2 weeks. My husband and I do not drink it but we give diluted OJ to our 3 year old.
Next, I go to the circular for the grocery store we go to in the phone app and add items that are on sale that I would like to buy. After this I make a list on paper of everything I would "like" to purchase. From those items I plan meals for the week. I try to keep things simple because the more ingredients that are needed to create a dish, the more $$$ I need to spend. After creating a meal plan I then go through my list and see what I don't really need and scribble them out. Yes, I scribble on my grocery list. I'll show you a photo of this week's list...I may re-write it because I've got a touch of OCD but I'll show you what I did just so you can see. For example I knew I had sweet potatoes so I figured I'd incorporate what I already have at home. I found this cool recipe on pinterest where you add balsamic glaze and goat cheese. That sounds delicious! BUT, sweet potatoes are good with butter. So I'm saving some money on the glaze and the goat cheese and just keeping it simple. No, it isn't quite as fun but it's also less calories, so "SILVER LINING" my friend.
Sometimes I do online grocery orders, sometimes I don't. They tend to give me really ugly bananas every single time and that really gets under my skin. I like my bananas just a titch green, not covered in brown spots. Thanks, but no thanks. Doing online orders really keeps you in check with a budget because there's literally no way to impulse buy.
When I go to the store, I stick to my list for the most part. I don't go down the aisles with the chips, soda or cookies. As a matter of fact I've been going to this grocery store for nearly 3 years and I can't even recall where that cookie aisle is. So I stick to the list and that gets me in less trouble.
Sometimes I like to surprise everyone so I'll get a little something "extra". For example, we make pizza once a week. It's so much less expensive to buy sauce, crust mix, and cheese. So to make it special I sometimes buy some pepperoni or another topping to make it more fun. This is a favorite meal night in our house. We also buy Perdue popcorn chicken and make it a "pizza and wings" night. Everyone loves this meal and we don't have to coax anyone to eat or make anything special for anyone. I make homemade wing sauce from a recipe my father in law created... it's fantastic. My husband and I each have a beer and everyone is happy! The kids even love celery. It's just the best night in our house.
Below you'll find this week's grocery list. I write down the sale prices next to the items just so I know when I go to the store.
My Grocery List
Do you follow a budget?
A note about coupons
I love coupons. I do not extreme coupon. I do get excited if I have a coupon for something I am buying and then find a coupon on Ibotta or SavingStar. Plus, if the item is on sale, I get REALLY EXCITED. That's where my couponing ends. I am not into buying 25 packages of toilet paper. Maybe one day I will be able to do that, but right now my brain is fried with 2 children, a husband and a dog. I just can't even comprehend that whole thing.
Do you use coupons?
When you are budgeting for groceries, it's good to know how much things typically cost at the store. I also find that it's good to know how good sales can be on the items you usually purchase. This aids me in deciding whether or not it's a good deal and if it isn't, it doesn't get purchased. I can tell you, ballpark how much everything I usually buy will cost. This helps to keep to your budget. Study up, friends.