My sweet friend and blog reader (I told you – sweet friend) sent in this question:
Hey! I am in need of your thrifty help. I am reviewing our expenses and realize we are spending WAY too much on groceries. I barely have time to think about making an actual grocery list, much less use coupons. Plus, most of the foods I buy never have coupons anyway. How do you spend so little a month on food and even account for your large milk bill? Any tips would help. Thanks!
I think this is a great question, and I know Holly is not the only one needing help in this area. I get at least one email, phone call, etc. each week asking this question. So here are my thoughts…
Menu planning has been hugely helpful in helping us save money. Until recently, I always had a loose meal plan that I worked with each week, but then I encountered this cute menu board and decided to make my own. (I really need to take a better photo…) And my friend Jean told me how much meal planning helps them to save. These two things were just the motivation I needed!
By planning out our meals, I can review what we have in our pantry and use these items! Then I figure out what we need in order to accomplish our menu for the week. Then I make my list and ONLY buy items on that list.
Also cutting out meat one night (or more) per week can help cut costs too, since meat (especially, organic and free-range meat) can be expensive. I would suggest making a list of these vegetarian meals that you can rotate through. Some of my favorites include tomato basil soup, black bean soup, and a meatless breakfast dinner. There are some really very tasty meals that you can enjoy without meat! Just brainstorm. If you need suggestions, look through old menu plans I have posted.
See the second post of this series: Q&A Grocery Budget Part 2
In the meantime, how do you save on your grocery budget?