Whatever your reason for having a tight budget, the
truth is that going to the grocery store without a plan
is a BIG budget breaker. And sadly all that cash ends
up vanishing into our stomachs and then...well, you
know what comes next.
But if you only had $300 a month to spend on groceries
for a family of four, could you do it? What sort of
food would make the list and what would stay tauntingly
on the store's shelves?
Could you save $25 a month on groceries? How about $50
or $100? Possibly you could cut your bill by almost 50%
if you consider some of the following suggestions:
First you must divide the budget you have into three
categories; weekly, bi-weekly and monthly. Once you
have the totals fixed, try to find a way to make it
work. If you budgeted too tight, only then consider how
much more you really need to spend.
Second, identify your WEEKLY needs; milk, bread,
fruits. These will be your saving graces when the
troops are hungry. You can load up every week and
always have a healthy snack available. Think about
Third, identify your BI-WEEKLY needs; eggs, cheese,
vegetables, meat and cheese for sandwiches etc. These
items have a slightly longer shelf life but you will
watch how much you use when you know there's still four
days until your next purchase. Try $20 every two
Fourth, get the remainder of your groceries in one
place. Use cash to pay (to avoid temptation of over
spending) and work out your shopping list ahead of
time. You only need to do this once as many of the
items (Cereal, meat etc.) will need to be repurchased
each time. Other items (sugar, flour etc.) may be
substituted every other month. In this example you have
Fifth, have a schedule of meals that you can rotate.
Cheap, healthy meals like stir fry can be inexpensive
as they use less meat than full pieces of chicken or
beef for dinner. Plan to have a meat meal offset by a
simpler dish like pasta every other night. This way
your family will not go through 'feast-and-famine' when
they eat like kings the first week and are eating
canned chili every night for the last week.
Always determine your meals based on what you really
plan to cook. If you have easy weeknight staples, try
to find the cheapest method of preparing them, or make
do with less pre- packaged affair on other nights when
you have more time. Using items like frozen vegetables
can make eating cheap also healthy and convenient.
Clearly the $300 suggestion will depend on your family,
the age of your children and how much your budget
really allows. Whatever your budget, taking the time to
draw up a plan and think about your choices will
guarantee that you keep more cash in your wallet for
other important things.
Shirley Bullington, the operator of
http://www.femeat.com has extensive nutritional
knowledge and is an expert on advising families on
their financial matters.
Please visit her site at
http://www.femeat.com for more information on meat and
other nutritional subjects.