Seriously, I Am Saving $2,400 a Year on Groceries.
I used to go to the grocery store once a week like clockwork. I had a general list but I did not have a meal plan. I just bought groceries (food, a few toiletries, paper goods, cat food and pet supplies) in a random fashion. I’d buy what sounded good that day, guessing at what I would need, and overbuying just in case I was forgetting anything. Each week my total would come in at around $150, or more.
Last year, I decided that $150 a week was too much to spend feeding 2 adults and 4 cats with occasional entertaining. (Okay, I’ll admit it. A lot of entertaining. It’s what I love to do.) So, I decided to make a monthly meal plan and buy groceries once a month. My plan was to spend $400 a month, all at one time, which would average out to $100 a week. It took some planning and a few other tips and tricks to make it work, but now I can proudly say I spend an average of $400 on groceries a month. That means I am saving $2,400 a year (probably more like $3000 if I’m honest,) over my old, wander-around-the-store system.
Download the Monthly meal planner that I use right here: MonthlyMealPlanForm
A Few Other Tips On Making This Work.
I mentioned that there were some other tricks I use to make this work for me. You may or may not need to use these based on your preferences, availability in your area, and your willpower level.
- First, I do not go into the grocery store at all if I can help it. I order everything online and have it delivered for free each month. I plan my meals and my grocery list sitting at my desk and order online. (I use Vons.com because they are close by, but you could use any delivery option.) This helps me stay on target with only the things I need, and I can not get distracted by the merchandising in the store or impulse buy something at the checkout or bakery.
- Second, because I order once a month, I save some of my budget for perishables like produce. I can not buy all my veggies and fruits once a month, or they will spoil. I do try to buy hardy items that will keep a long time; broccoli, asparagus, celery, potatoes, onions, apples and the like. But lettuce and other fruits and veggies need to be bought fresh every few weeks. I try to get as much as possible from a local farmer’s market instead of going to the grocery store.
- Third, I use my Club Card and shop the sales. Just because I don’t go to the store in person does not mean I can’t shop the sales. I start my shopping in the Online Specials section to make sure I get free delivery, free items, free items with purchases, money off with purchases, buy one get one free offers and more.
- Fourth, I have created a pantry and I stock up when sales happen. This means, over the last year, I have gathered a small stock of canned and dry goods. I am not talking about doomsday prepper/extreme couponing/horder-style stocking up. But a decent pantry can really help save money on groceries. As can buying in bulk, cooking in bulk and freezing.