As I speak to women about saving money, research latest trends, and listen to all the feedback you wonderful ladies give in the comments (hint, hint), I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to state that meal planning and grocery shopping are two areas with which most women struggle.
But guess what?
Those areas are the easiest and most effective way to see immediate results in lowering your monthly budget.
Now take a deep breath. I am not going to recommend taking on an outlandish challenge like spending $100/month on groceries or just $25 last week. 🙂 What crazy mom does that, but I am going to share my #1 Grocery Guru Money Saving Tip which doesn’t require clipping even one coupon.
(I know many of you are standing and applauding now since you haven’t quite gotten into the groove of thinking coupons are worth the hassle.)
Completely shift how you think about planning a meal.
Instead of asking hubby what he wants for dinner that week or writing out your weekly/monthly meal plan (in my dream life), and then shopping for those recipes, shop the circular ads first and stock up on sale items – then plan your meals.
I know, it’s a rather simplistic technique really, but many of us are not utilizing the easiest way to reduce our food budget….shop, then plan.
This is how I am making the Pantry Challenge work day in and day out. This is how our family can go for an entire month only $100 for the month, and you know what…we may do this for another month it’s that successful.
But it also means a little delayed gratification (ok…a LOT of delayed gratification). The kids may be clambering for lasagna, but your fridge/freezer check reveal that the ground beef is gone and the mozzarella is non existent. Here’s where you begin to save money. Do NOT go out and buy ground beef, cheese or can of tomatoes at the full retail price. These items will go on sale within a week or two, and that’s when you incorporate it into the menu.
Does that make sense? Now don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, you won’t get caught without meat and cheese because you continue to replenish those items every time they are on sale.
If you’re a really savvy shopper, you can take the weekly sales ads the first day they come out and plan your menu, but that is too much work for me. Since I consistently am shopping ahead for a few weeks, I have enough to draw on for my menu planning.
I do not impulse shop EVER in the grocery store. (Now the thrift store, that’s a whole different confession. 🙂 )
Shifting how you think about grocery shopping saves thousands of dollars in the long run.
Ladies, you can do this. We can do it together. Once you get the hang of this step, then we’ll add in the coupons, and you too will begin shopping “for free.”
But right now, first things first. Deal? 🙂 (One of our biggest struggles during this Pantry challenge has been snacks…here’s my best snack sensation.)
So what works for you?
What is your #1 Money Saving Tip?