I recently began on a quest to spend no more than $50 per week on groceries. Up until recently we have spent no more than $100 per week but with me transitioning to a full-time SAHM in the next month, our finances need a bit of tweaking. I decided it might be beneficial to cut back on our groceries. It seems like a steep task for many but I seem to have it down to a science. SO how exactly does one stick to $50 per week for a family of three with another on the way? I have outlined below my step-by-step process.
1. BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET! If you don’t have a budget at this point, it is critical to start one. Budgeting is the only way to truly track where every cent goes. I am going to do a series on budgeting next. Budgeting is not hard!
2. Evaluate your money situation. When shopping with $50 per week, toss the plastic; cash is where it is at. Very few have the budgeting resources and will power to use a debit card at the store. This is painful for many and is the point where most “give up” on budgeting. The truth is, cards simply do not work for this process (for most people).
3. Pick your starting day of the week and meal plan. (here is a great set of templates if you need one http://www.livecrafteat.com/live/meal-planning-template/) This step is not only important but necessary if you want to stick to $50 a week. It is beneficial to plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (also desserts if you wish) for each day. This ensures you only buy the necessary ingredients for each recipe and meal. You do not have to buy sale items to make $50 a week work; however, for items like meat, it is a good idea to buy what is on sale.
4. Compile a list of the items and how many of each you will need at the store.
5. Cross ingredients. When planning a meal plan, I find it is easier to put together a few recipes in a week that share ingredients.
6. Head to the store(s)!! Things you will need:
- $50 in cash – leave the debit card or credit card at home – plastic makes it too easier to go over budget.
- Bring $5 to $10 extra on your first trip to start your “bulk fund.” Only use when you spot a great deal on a pantry item or other essential. By putting leftover cash from your $50 surplus into your bulk fund, your fund will grow!
- Your list of items and something to write with.
- Coupons if you have any.
- Calculator or use a smart phone with an app to track your spending – don’t leave home without this one! I went over by $10 on a trip because I forgot my calculator.
- Reusable grocery bags for stores like Aldi.
7. While at the store if you find you have gone over your $50, evaluate why. We all go over at times but if possible, reduce what is in your cart, there is probably something in there you do not need.
8. HAVE FUN! Being frugal and thrifty is not the dredges but a task that can save you literally hundreds and maybe even thousands over the course of the year.
The Joyful Homemaker