Do I really have to think about grocery shopping AGAIN?? I get it. Just the thought of grocery shopping is overwhelming let along thinking of ways to actually save money on groceries.
Don’t worry… I got you!
I used to be that girl who would walk aimlessly up one aisle and back down the next trying to come up with what I wanted to fix over the next couple days. Oh and don’t even call me while I’m doing this ‘cause I will literally walk around and around in circles through a few aisles. Don’t believe me? Ask my husband. He thinks it’s hilarious.
Anyway, I would get to the check out an hour later or more and so flippin’ overwhelmed that I’m just ready to claw my way out that grocery store. I HATED GROCERY SHOPPING. It was awful.
Do you feel that way? Does just the thought of having to go to the grocery store absolutely drain you?
I kid you not. You are going to think I’m lying but there have been a few times I’ve actually sit in the vehicle at the grocery store and took a nap before going in. I’m serious! Don’t laugh! This is a no judgement zone!
It was horrible!!
And then you go and spend a flippin’ fortune on all these groceries just to get home and realize you didn’t buy anything that you could actually put a meal together with. So what do you do? Stop at the McD.
Come on guys! I WAS THAT GIRL!! I know how it is…
That’s how I spent over $200 a week on food and that’s conservative. There were some weeks my food bill would be right at $300 for our family of four. No lie… super embarrassing, but true.
Let’s fast forward to now…
Now, I don’t dread grocery shopping at all and my food bill is never, ever over $120 (unless I’ve planned for it to be). It takes me no more than 20 minutes at the very most in the grocery store.
Let me show you how I did it so you can save money on groceries and not dread the very thought of it.
READY TO LIVE WITH LESS CHAOS?
Ever feel like you will never get to that place where you will cook meals every night instead of going through the drive thru and wasting money? The Meal & Money Toolbox as the tools you need to learn how to stop torturing yourself!
Think and Eat Simple
Come up with some super easy meals that don’t take a lot of ingredients or brain power to fix. Think stuff like…
- Spaghetti with hamburger and garlic bread
- Pork chops and fried potatoes
- Hamburger and French fries
- Hot Dogs and chips
- Fried fish and salad
- Ham and cheese sliders and chips
- Fried or baked chicken and green beans
- Crockpot roast and potatoes
- Taco Beef Mac n Cheese and salad
- BLT and chips
- Frozen lasagna and garlic bread
If you want to make these healthier then add a salad and bake them instead of fried. Once you have these super easy meals then make note of the ones you would like to fix over the next week.
Got them? Good.
Plan to Shop Only Once Per Week
You just put together a week’s worth of super easy meals so that you can plan to shop only once per week.
If you only think about a couple day’s worth of food then you will find yourself back at the grocery store a few times a week and each time you go to the grocery store do you know what that means?
Well, it means you are going to pick up a few extra little ole things here and there that you probably didn’t even need. Like every time I go in the grocery store I have to buy myself an Ale8. Never fails.
Plan to Cook Once, Eat Twice
Take a look at your meals you wrote down and decide if you can double any of the meals.
For instance, if you have hamburgers or even tacos, you could buy enough hamburger to double your meal when you cook.
You will simply eat one meal and freeze the other.
This can save you money on groceries because sometimes it’s cheaper to buy in bulk and it saves you time in the kitchen because it takes no more time to double a meal but saves a ton when all you have to do is reheat a meal. You can thank me later.
So, do you have any meals you can cook once and eat twice? If so, write them down.
Alright, now you are ready to write down the ingredients from all the meals you have planned for the next week and any double up meals.
Shop Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer
With your list of ingredients in hand take a look at what you already have. Mark those items off your ingredients list. Doing this will probably also give you some ideas of some meals you can take note of to fix next time because you already have the stuff for it.
This is a super, super easy way to save money on groceries. You already have the items so you don’t have to spend money on them.
Only Buy What You Need
What you have remaining on your list is what you need to buy. Now would be the time to go ahead and think about other stuff you may need like sandwich meat and bread for lunches or cereal and milk for breakfast.
Or you may have items you need to buy to replenish your inventory stockpile.
Go ahead and write all these down.
Once I have everything written down that I need then I like to rewrite my list so that it follows how my grocery store is laid out.
I shop at Save-A-Lot most of the time. Save-A-Lot is a small grocery store and I know my hometown’s store like the back of my hand so I can mentally go down each aisle and re-write my list.
If you don’t know your store’s layout then maybe there is a map of it on their website or you could even use services like grocery pickup where you shop online and then go to the store and they will load your groceries up for you. You don’t even have to get out of the vehicle. Walmart does this and it’s free as long as you buy $30 worth of stuff.
First time I tried this it felt SO WEIRD but AWESOME at the same time. Poor little clerk lady had to listen to me talk her ear off the entire time she was trying to load my groceries. Yes. I was that person who turned herself completely around in her seat just to stare at the clerk and talk as she tried to work. Y’all I’m an introvert. I don’t just talk to people unless I’m nervous then sometimes I can’t shutup. The experience made me nervous. I was not used to someone doing my work for me. But I think I could used to it.
Anyway this would also make it easier to stick to your list since you are not physically in the store unintentionally browsing around as you shop.
If you prefer to go to the grocery store but don’t know your layout then just group your items in a way so they will likely be pretty close to each other. Here are some groups:
KEEP IT ALL IN ONE PLACE
All across Busy Cook’s Plan there are printables and worksheets that are provided to help you live with less craziness when you plan your meals and teaches you how to save money for those things you desire. You can now get those tools in one convenient toolbox.
- Canned Goods
- Baking / Spices
- Frozen Foods
- Other groceries
- Personal Hygiene
This is Your Grocery List Now Stick to It
See how simple that was? Now you have a grocery list that you can use when you go to the grocery store.
Just going to the grocery store is not enough though. You have to be able to stick to your list. There are a few things you should try to follow.
Don’t go hungry
For the love of all things peanut butter do not go to the grocery store hungry. It doesn’t matter how many times I have a grocery list and I tell myself that I’m going to stick it. IT NEVER HAPPENS IF I’M HUNGRY. Every single time I will find myself picking up a little ole box of cookies and then a little further down the aisle I’ll grab a couple little ole boxes of cakes. And I can’t avoid the darn things because they are in the same flippin’ aisle I have to go down to get my spaghetti. Oh poor me!
On these days my kids always say, “Mom, you were hungry when you went shopping weren’t you?” Yes. Yes I was. Thank you children.
Go It Alone
What is even worse than going to the grocery store hungry is when you take your husband or kids with you.
Oh my lands!! I cannot, I repeat, CANNOT take my husband into the grocery store with me. I might as well not even have the thought to save money on groceries when he is with me. It’s just not happening.
I swear I think he is mentally choosing the highest priced foods to throw in the buggy. Your husband like that? I love him, but he can’t go.
Alright so, are you ready to go shopping?
Shop at Discount Stores Like Save-A-Lot or Aldi’s
I like to shop at these smaller stores for a couple reasons. One is that you can save money on groceries without really even trying because most of the stuff is generic or store brand.
But another reason is because they are small. Small means less overwhelming. Less overwhelming means I can get the job done faster. Faster is good.
If you haven’t tried them, give them a whirl. Most of the foods, yes I said “most”, you won’t be able to tell a difference at all between store and name brand. For this you will just have to experiment and see for yourself.
For instance, ketchup is my thing. I like Heinz. Can’t stand Hunts. To me, most store brand ketchup tastes like Hunts. So you just gotta try it and see what you like and what you don’t. I think most of it you will be pretty pleased with.
When I fix the Super Easy Broccoli Casserole I use all generic brand ingredients. All of them. It tastes and comes together a lot better with generic. I’ve tried it both ways and generic wins.
So, even if you choose to stay with the bigger box stores that have all the name brand stuff then still try out some generic or store brands. It will save you some cash and I really don’t think you will be disappointed.
Now that you have your groceries, let’s go home.
If You Buy It, Use It
You have all these glorious groceries in your home. Don’t forget about them.
Don’t take the first day you feel crappy and don’t want to cook and head to the drive thru.
Make yourself come home and fix the meal you planned. If you followed my advice and chose super easy meals then it’s not going to be that hard. It’s not going to take you that much time.
If you didn’t follow my advice then you will probably end up at the McD and have wasted your money on groceries since they will ruin in your fridge. I know. It’s horrible but you still got next week to reset.
Reset or Repeat
If this past week of trying to save money on your groceries didn’t work out so well then try it again. Don’t let it get you down.
It’s not bad to try and stumble and then try again. What’s bad is if you stumble and then give up.
It will take some time to where you will feel like doing this is second nature. For a while you may stumble. Even if you don’t stumble it will still take a little effort for you to do these same steps every week until you realize that you have created a habit.
Look at this way. If it’s always easy then you never have a chance at perfection. Think about it. How will you ever know perfection or feel that sense of achievement if you don’t stumble or put in effort while getting there?
If you got through this past week and followed your plan you put together then do it again for next week. And then again for the next week. And keep doing until you realize that if you didn’t do it then you would be lost.
If you stumbled then go right back and figure out what you need to improve and try it again. Do this until you are in a place where you were able to follow your plan for the entire week. Then repeat what you did. And repeat it again. And again.
Guys I’m telling you once you get to that place where you can save money on your groceries and be able to have that money to do other things like pay off debt, save for a vacation, or whatever else it is that you deserve then you will feel soooo good.
I can’t wait for you to feel that.
Oh, by the way, did you realize that you are now meal planning? WHAT!! Yep, you sure are. If you want to know more about what I can teach you on meal planning and get ideas for how to make it simpler then you want to grab my Meal Planning Challenge while it’s free. Don’t miss it. You even get some email discussion with more tips and ideas along with the challenge. Oh, and each of these emails gives you a little something, something for being a great student.
IT’S UP TO YOU NOW
If you are ready to change the path of your future and starting working toward your money goals and desires. Do you want to pay off debt? Do you want to make new memories with your family? Do you simply want a spending cushion? Whatever it is, it is possible. All the tools are available in the Toolbox.
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