This month we’ve been dissecting all areas of savings and our budget, but for Tasty Tuesday’s, we’ve specifically been looking at our food budgets.
We started with an honest discussion talking about our Monthly Food Costs. Last week, I shared my free printable monthly food tracker, while you chimed in with how you handle budgeting your food.
This week, I’d love to hear your #1 bit of advice that you would give to someone new to attacking and slashing their grocery budget WITHOUT coupons.
Yes, I hear many of you groaning right now because coupons were the most significant thing you have implemented to tackle that budget, BUT couponing demands a huge learning curve to really becoming a grocery guru, and I want to encourage those who choose to find other ways to save.
Since the onset of Extreme Couponing, and my first sharing about how it’s just not reality, I’ve had to completely re-think my strategy after Extreme Couponing, which resulted in some additional savings because I was thinking strategically about my shopping. At our Becoming conference, I did a hour long keynote talk addressing this topic of saving money in the kitchen without coupons, so I know there are many varying options.
When friends and readers ask for my help, but don’t want to coupon, some of my first reactions are as follows:
- Cook from scratch as much as you possibly can. This one we know, but it’s difficult to always implement. Try stretching your meats with additional beans and rice. Try and phase in one or two vegetarian options throughout the week. Enjoy this cool, crisp fall weather and enjoy soups, which are economical and filling.
- Plan your shopping trip and menu/meal plan AFTER you see what’s on sale for the week.This is critical to slashing your food budget. Do not meal plan and then shop. You shop and then meal plan.
- Examine the unit price before you buy (bigger is not always better or cheaper, nor are brand name vs. generic brand).
- Stock pile when things go on sale. Of course, this is where couponing makes a huge difference, but last week our store brand had canned veggies for $0.35. That is a stockpile price, even without coupons.
- Be observant and look for hidden deals (hint: colored/orange stickers equals large savings, plus some times deals are staring at you and you don’t even notice.)
- Plan a No Food Waste Week. It was incredibly eye opening to see how much food our family wasted on a regular basis, even though I really thought we barely wasted anything. I had to get very creative, but it was worth it.
- I guess I like a challenge. Twice a year, I also do a Pantry Challenge where I attempt to go an entire month with virtually no shopping at the grocery store, except for produce and dairy. This summer, I did a No spend, Clear out and Eat from my Garden challenge, and it was a huge success for our wallet. I even continued it while our family was in Guatemala.
- Last year, I shared 13 easy and odd ways to save money in the kitchen – all small tips, but added together over a long period of time really add up.
My list could go on and on, but I know you have some great wisdom to share with readers here and I can’t wait to read your comments.
Imagine that someone is coming to you asking for help to trim their large food budget by hundreds of dollars, Where should they start?
Please share your wisdom in the comments.
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