In July of 2017, the USDA released a document that claimed households should spend between $75 to $125 per person, per month, on groceries. In a household of four individuals, the total would average $500 monthly. Many of us are thus challenged by the question, “How can we reduce grocery costs while still eating healthy and quality foods?” The solution may not be easy or convenient. It begins with families thinking outside the box and meticulous pre-planning.
- Implementing change in our budgeting practices requires baby steps and time for analysis. The first step is to consider a budget, and a method to keep track of your weekly spending and overall budget. A credit card may be one solution. (Some cards will offer a cash-back reward, which will come in handy.)
- Shopping in bulk is a smart investment. You may think, “What am I going to do with 25 pounds of flour or jasmine rice; yet, storing frequently used items will save money in the long run. (Consider vacuum-sealing rice, noodles, and ready-made packaged soups in glass jars and investing in large sealable containers.) Take advantage of great sales on frozen vegetables and meats, too. A chest freezer is a great investment.
- How often have you said, “Oh, I wish I’d known I had spaghetti sauce already!” Organizing your pantries and cupboards, especially the corner cabinet, can be time-consuming; however, the result is helpful. Take a moment to group items together, and place them in rows with the expiration dates in mind. Keeping track of what you have is a blessing and can save you money.
- Deals are everywhere, and most often, follow a daily pattern. By venturing into various grocery stores, you can learn about weekly sales. Take a pad and paper. You will want to take notes and to discover which stores offer the best prices.
- Too often, we find ourselves taking advantage of convenience and stopping to buy snacks, drinks, or meals for breakfast and lunch, or picking up a few grocery items mid-week, which adds up to a substantial total. The solution is to create a weekly menu of meals. Making meals and freezing will save you time and effort during the week, and provide a variety of meals for the whole family.
- Many of our favorite grocery stores offer customers the service of shopping online and picking up items at the curb. Saving time and money are two influential benefits, as long as shopping is completed once a week.
- Pancake mix contains eight ingredients most households have at home. Why spend the money for a pre-made bag when you can make the recipe from scratch? As a culture, we are sacrificing healthy foods to convenience. The solution is to become self-sufficient. Without a bread maker, you can creatively make your own loaves if you keep the dough well protected in the refrigerator. A fresh, preservative-free loaf will last two to three days, and, comprising only three ingredients, will be a much healthier option for the entire family. Yes, start thinking outside the box.
- With produce and herb prices on the rise, it is wise to take ownership of growing your own organic food favorites. Whether the plants are placed on the window sill or back porch, you can take advantage of the natural light to encourage growth. In our location, zone 7 offers a longer season of warmth; therefore, research what you can grow each month of the year. Wouldn’t it be nice to save money on lettuce, carrots, onions, and bell peppers, for instance? In knowing where your food comes from, the answer is always, yes!
- Eating a good breakfast will always provide the extra energy and nutritional value your family needs. Discuss ways for the household to begin each day sitting at the kitchen table, and holding lunches as they leave for work or school. Everyone can participate in the conversation of saving money and lending a hand. Today’s conversations encourage tomorrow’s savings and health. The topic of rising early can be saved for another day!