This weeks Whole Foods haul was pretty successful! I got out of there spending less than $200! That’s for our family of six! For the entire week! That’s an average of less than $1000 a month in groceries! If you’re like most people, groceries are one of your biggest expenses. Over the last two years, I have slowly learned how to save money grocery shopping! Here’s how our family of six eats clean for $1000 or less a month!
It all starts with a plan
Budget: Write down all your weekly or monthly expenses and create a budget for each item that is going to get paid that week/month. When you write your amount for groceries, go to the bank and pull it out in cash. This keeps you within budget and makes you second guess impulse buys. Using a debit or credit card for groceries makes me overspend everytime. I’m not as conscious of my spending or what my three year old has thrown into the cart! When I have cash on me, I know we have a certain number we can’t go over, so yea I’m the mom that says “no,” quite a few times in the checkout. My son usually keeps track of the total we’re at as we go through the store. Everytime something is added to the cart, I say the price out loud and he adds it to the total. This keeps us on track and we get in and out faster.
Make a weekly meal plan: I usually do this on Thursday night. I write down Friday through the following Thursday in a notebook and then write what meals we want to have and the ingredients we will need that week. I’m super organized so I usually write it in categories (dairy, meat, fruits + veggies, etc) and by where it is located in the store, starting in the back. So we can get in and out faster. Because who wants to be at the grocery store deciding what to do for dinner, for hours at a time, with four kids? Not me. An even better way to do this is ordering your groceries online and doing pick up or delivery. This isn’t available in our area yet, but it will def cut time & costs because you can see the total and make adjustments if you need to, and it cutting out impulse buys and excess food you don’t really need!
Don’t make these common mistakes
Don’t buy pre-cut anything: I’ll admit, cutting fruits and chopping vegetables is time consuming. Unless you’re Gordon Ramsey. However, the time you’re cutting out is also cutting into your wallet, ALOT. I started comparing pre cut prices with fresh produce and realized how much I was actually paying for convenience! So now we skip the pre cuts and cut it ourselves.
Snack aisles: Our family loves snacks, but we try to stick to shopping the outskirts of the store. Buying crackers, cookies, chips, and so on, is not as healthy or as cheap as fresh produce. Stick to the four walls of the store. You’ll see an increase in your health and in your checking account.
Don’t shop hungry: I’ve done this more times than I can count. If you go in a store hungry, without a plan, you will overspend every single time. Just don’t. You’ll be throwing out all the stuff packed into the back of the fridge that never got opened! Only buy what is on the weekly meal plan!
Buy only what you need: It took me a while to get this one. How many pounds of ground beef do I need for “x” amount of meatballs? Or how many loaves of bread will we need this week? I over bought a lot. This one falls more in trial and error, but buying only what you need will slim your waistline, while fattening your wallet. Portion control is something we never practiced and we found ourselves packing up leftovers to be left in the fridge, and thrown away a week later or forgetting to put the leftovers up altogether. What a waste of food and money! Now we figure out our portions before buying, and almost never have leftovers, unless we purposely have them for meal preps for the next day’s lunch!
“Happiness is homemade”
Eat out less often: We love food. All kinds of food. So we quickly realized only having a grocery budget wasn’t enough for us. We have a separate line on our budget now for eating out. We would buy groceries, then go out to eat three or more times a week, causing us to go over budget (With four kids, that gets extremely expensive!) and waste a lot of food! Now, we set aside an extra Benjamin or two for dining out. Sometimes it’s tough to take care of four kids, homeschool, clean house, do laundry, run errands, AND cook dinner. Some days it just doesn’t work for us. So we go out for dinner. But this isn’t an every day thing. Or even an every week thing. It’s usually when I’m just plain tired. This is not our weekly date night budget though. We do something different every week for that! You can read more about our date nights here!
We try to buy in season and save on sales: The prices of fruit that are not in season are crazy high. So we buy when they are in season and freeze some. I have the Whole Foods app, which shows weekly deals on their produce & meats. This is a huge help in our meal planning for the week. We try to base it off of the items on sale, and create recipes from that. It doesn’t work every week, but it saves big time! Amazon is also affiliated with Whole Foods now. So if you have a prime account, you get special store discounts just because! When you checkout just scan your barcode on the app! I save about $10 extra dollars by using this at the checkout!
Improve your health
Cut out processed foods: This one goes back to shopping the outer aisles of the store. Cutting out processed food is hard because you’re also cutting out convenience. But, eating less processed foods make us feel better, have more energy, improve our health, and save some money. It’s a process though. You don’t want to scare the kids, make them think you went crazy, and that they’ll never eat another box of Kraft mac and cheese. Even if that is the goal, it doesn’t have to be all at once. I have found slowly eliminating bad foods from our home and diets has made my kids less conscious of the changes. Their whole tastes have really changed. My son, who spent his first five years of life, thanks to me, eating processed junk, has learned to like more healthy options. He reaches for fresh fruit now more than fruit roll ups. Even broccoli every now and then. In my book, that’s a win! But they all still ask for candy at the checkout, like any kid would. Sometimes, they even get it. But life is about balance, right?
365, SAMS CHOICE, GREAT VALUE
Buy store brands: We use 365 brand for most of our groceries. It’s usually half the price of the name brand. I try to pay more attention to ingredients, over brands. I usually go for the cleaner option, but if the cleaner option only has one less ingredient than the store brand + it’s twice the price, we’re getting the store brand. This differs from person to person. My husband likes one brand of bacon, not any other brand. So that’s the brand we get. I’ve tried to get him to change his mind, but he feels fine paying $12+ per pound for his bacon. And since he’s the main one eating it, I don’t mind. We’re saving in other places so the extra money going toward our bacon is fine with me! But maybe one day I’ll be able to buy the $6 one hahaha.
I hope these tips help you save on your next grocery haul! Do you have any hacks for saving on groceries? Let us know in the comments!
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XOXO, The Morse Family