It’s a common question for individuals suffering with debt — “How can I save money? The budget is tight, the cost of groceries and gas is high — I can’t seem to get ahead”. Add in the fact the kids are home from school, they are hungry every 5 minutes AND bored, and the situation may seem dire. Truth is, you can save money EVERY month by implementing a couple of tips this summer.
Make A Grocery List BEFORE You Head Out to the Store
If you are like me, you would rather go to the dentist and get your teeth drilled then head to the grcoery store each week. I always start out with the best of intentions (think Martha Stewart) and end up with a cart that looks like I am opening a snack shop at the pool (think Mama June before she underwent life changing weight loss therapy).
Picture it — Kids are screaming and begging for candy at the check out, you are trying to think about meal ideas while removing items that your children have secretly added to your shopping cart. All while thinking about your schedule for the week and what meals you can make to keep your children eating healthy without breaking the bank….you are relieved you made it to the check out and then — you are over budget AGAIN.
This week I finally said no more. I promised myself I was headed to the store with a list and I was STICKING to it. My budget was $200 for the week for everything groceries, items I needed for the house and the kids. How did it turn out? $30 under budget and I had everything I needed for 10 days.
Plan Head. Have your Receipes Ready for the Week
Before you can make a solid grocery list you need to know what you are going to make. I take a peice of paper and write down recipes or meal ideas for each day of the week. For example, here is my list for the week:
- Monday: 7 Layer Salad
- Tuesday: Meatball Subs
- Wednesday: Speghetti (using the leftover meatballs from the night before)
- Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken
- Friday: Ham Lasagna
- Saturday: Ham & Cheese Sandwiches (again using that extra ham) and Pot Roast
- Sunday: Meatloaf
These recipes share alot of the same ingredients so there is little waste. I use the crock pot ALOT – this way, left overs can easily be dumped into a container and saved for lunch for the next day. There is no surprises at the grocery store – I have my list of recipes and corresponding ingredients, so planning out my shopping trick is quick, easy and organized, saving you money.
Save with APPS and Coupons
No need to bring all the competitor ads with you if you are headed to Walmart, their app Savings Catcher will do all of the work for you. Simply scan your receipts and if the system finds a lower price. If a competitor has a lower price on the item, Walmart will refund you difference in the app which (once it reaches a certain amount) can be redeemed at the store like a giftcard.
For retailers like Giant Eagle — make sure you bring your loyalty card to get gas rewards or other instant savings.
Skip the Sweets
The good stuff is usually the expensive stuff. If you can make your own cookies, cakes, sweets — do it. Skip the prepaared foods section and you will save. If you are making muffins or cookies and you have a little extra – freeze half the batch so you can be ahead in your shopping for next week. I LOVE to do this with rigatoni and stuffed shells — one time prep 2x the meals 🙂
So when you head out to the grocery store this summer — approach it like a game. Plan out your meals, bring a list and dont forget to keep your receipt for extra savings down the road.