Friday, July 25, 2014

Budgeting: Grocery Store Edition

I don't know about y'all but I am always looking for ways to save money. We spend some serious money at the grocery store. I literally feel like I could just hand over my check right to the because seriously. It is a little ridiculous. Food is EXPENSIVE and there is no way around it. We don't meal plan because it ends up being more expensive for us. Yes, I am that weirdo that spends way more meal planning that I do winging it. I am probably doing it wrong and that's why it is so expensive but I just give up on it. I am by no means an expert but I am going to share two tips that help me stay under budget or right on and some meals that are in our rotation. Do we go over budget sometimes? Absolutely! Are we under sometimes? Yes, definitely. I try to keep our budget at $100 a week but it includes diapers, wipes, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap/shampoo, etc. when we run out during the month.

Plan and Guesstimate
I LOVE FOOD. Giving myself a $100 budget for food for four people used to stress me out. In my head I see myself and the kids starving to death because we don't have food. Am I being dramatic? Absolutely. I just LOVE food, ha! When it comes time to go grocery shopping I make a list of things we need and want then I guesstimate what they cost. Most things we buy regularly so my guesstimate is pretty close. Another thing that I do is I either round up to the dollar or add a dollar for tax. This makes my guesstimated total higher than my actual checkout total usually but then I get so excited because I was under! Woohoo!! If our list exceeds our budget I start cutting things- never anything we NEED. If we need it, I will go over budget sometimes but I try to stay under when it is possible.

Name brand vs. Off brand
Some people are very serious about only buying brand name things. I don't have a problem buying the off brand. There are a few things that I will not buy off brand- macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets (Great value ones we had last time were ORANGE. Blech!!), Little Crunchies by Gerber, and Huggies Natural care wipes. We use Parent's Choice diapers. Many people are against this and I was with y'all. I loved Pampers! However, for half the price we gave PC a try and we love them. We haven't had any issues at all with them and I love the money we save buying them.

We are a simple family. We don't have these extravagant and fancy meals. I don't have the time to devote to preparing them and cleaning up the mess after and I find it is more expensive. If you are one of those people? Awesome!! I am a firm believer in you have time what you make time for and cooking/cleaning the mess isn't my choice. I like trash tv much more ;) We usually have ground meat, fish, and chicken in our freezer at all times. We are a huge chicken family. Huge. We eat chicken in one way or another at least three days a week. The other days we will have ground meat or fish. We really don't eat out too much because it gets so expensive! We eat tacos, hamburgers, shepherds pie, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, grilled chicken salad, chicken salad, grilled chicken, chicken and potatoes, fish, red beans and rice, and pork chops occasionally. For lunch Ryan brings a sandwich and snacks. The kids and I will eat a pack of those $1 noodles or rice mixes and some type of meat- chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or lunch meat.

So, tell me, What is your weekly/monthly budget on groceries? Do you meal plan? What are you eating? Do you have things you buy specific brands of?


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