The trick is to make it a challenge, not a chore.
- Setting a budget is important if you want to control your grocery spending.
- Commit to reducing food waste throughout your home and give yourself permission to craft leftovers.
- Online shopping can help you avoid impulse purchases and control your spending.
Food costs are more than 10% higher than they were a year ago, putting many families on edge. For many people, wages are not rising as fast as the cost of living and they are looking for ways to save money. The challenge is that many saving strategies are also time consuming. Some people demand pretty big lifestyle changes.
So, last month, we set out to cut our grocery bills in ways that everyone can apply. But our homes don’t work that way. I think we are not alone. You hardly know what you are doing hours ahead. It can be a few days or longer. So I focused on how to save money while remaining flexible. Here are 5 of them.
How I Saved $100 on Grocery Every Month
Our family spends about $300 a month on groceries. We live in Bogota, Colombia where the cost of living is much lower than most US cities. However, they also pay a premium for imported items such as cheese and spices.
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1. Created a budget and set goals
Setting goals is often the biggest step in making something happen. I live with my partner, so we sat down and looked at our spending over the past few months. We totaled up what we spent and discussed what could be cut. Our idea was to make saving money fun rather than difficult – and making it a collaborative challenge was part of that.
It seemed easy to impulsively buy chocolates every time I stopped by the store. I usually shop with him more than once a week. With a few other changes, he determined it was feasible to cut the grocery bill by two-thirds.
2. Switched to online shopping
Online shopping isn’t for everyone and means paying extra for shipping. But it’s much easier to control costs and compare prices when you can see it on your screen. Budget how much you want to spend Now that we have it set up, we wanted to be able to track costs down to the last cent. Even if you are not good at online shopping, it is okay. Instead, make a list and stick to it, or find other tricks to avoid impulse buying.
I also shopped less often. It’s too easy to get extra trinkets or be tempted by special offers every time you go to the store, even if it’s virtual: $90 each for monthly groceries instead of making weekly trips of his two trips. $20 left over for extra fresh fruit and vegetables if needed.
One of the big drawbacks of shopping exclusively online is the lack of in-store discounts on products that are nearing their expiration date. The advantage is that it becomes much easier to compare prices and control spending. I figured out what I needed for 2 weeks and added it to my cart. When it came time to finalize the order, I had to make some cuts and trade in cheaper products to stay below my $90 target.
3. Batch cooked and frozen some meals
Double (or triple) the amount if you’re making pasta sauces, stews, or roasted vegetables. You can often get a better price by buying in bulk.Once you’ve cooked one meal, you can even cook several meals at the same time.Especially those that need to be cooked in the oven. If you’re cooking , make the most of it when it’s hot.
I cheated a little to get a $100 savings by eating some meals that were already in the freezer. , which means it can handle even the most unpredictable weeks.
4. Lean commitment
Much like setting our spending goals, the joint decision not to throw food away was half the battle. , hope someone else can do something about them. This allowed me to make an appetizer-type meal out of leftovers once a week, consciously avoiding waste.
I didn’t want to plan every meal, so I stocked up on staples like canned food, pasta, and rice instead. Having plenty of long-storable foods means you can almost always put together a well-balanced, low-cost meal — even tuna pasta with a few frozen veggies.
5. I used a rewards credit card
Here in Colombia, there aren’t many cashback apps that reward you for spending, but you can get some perks by paying with your credit card. You may be able to combine your credit card payment and cash back app rewards. It may not seem like much, but those rewards can add up—at least enough to buy him two $4 chocolate bars.
If you can involve the whole family first and set a food budget and stick to it, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save. Likewise, reducing food waste becomes easier when everyone participates. As with many things in life, making the decision to do something is often half the battle.
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