Put together a grocery list on a budget
First things first
One of the most important things you can do when you're shopping on a budget is to create a grocery list. It helps you stick to a plan and avoid things you don't really need. Take it one step further and try to plan out your meals for the week ahead, then make your list. It might sound like a chore but it will be worth it in the end.
Things to think about
While they may make life a bit easier, you're paying for the convenience of having someone else wash and shred your lettuce. Instead, buy individual heads of lettuce and cabbages, and large bags of celery or carrots that you peel and cut yourself.
It might seem like you're getting a deal when you buy in bulk, but not always. Be sure you do some calculating before you decide what you should buy in larger quantities. Also, consider what your family actually eats. If you buy an item in bulk just because it's cheaper, but your family won't eat it, it's not worth it.
Don't shop when you're hungry
It sounds crazy, but think about it... If you head to the grocery store when you're hungry, just about everything and anything will look good to you -- and may somehow end up in your cart! Go shopping after breakfast or after having a snack.
Read the ads
Scan the newspaper for sales on staple items that can easily be stored. Think beans, pasta, pasta sauce, rice and things you can freeze like chicken or other meats. Don't forget to check the mail, too. Often local stores will send coupons in the mail.
Go for generic
Unless there is something you absolutely must have in a brand version, don't forget to look for the store's brand or a generic option instead. These are available for just about all products from frozen vegetables to flour to cereal -- and cost less than brand versions.
Avoid a sale
That sounds strange but think of it this way... Don't buy something just because it's on sale. If your family won't eat it, it won't be worth the great price.
Items to add to your budget-friendly grocery list
- Fresh vegetables in season
- Frozen vegetables
- Tomato sauce
- Low-fat yogurt and cheese
- Low-fat milk
- Fresh fruit in season
- Canned fruit in light syrup
Grains and cereals
- Whole-grain cereals
- Brown rice
- Peanut butter
- Canned tuna
- Dried peas, beans and lentils
- Ground beef (or turkey) and chicken to use now or to freeze
With a budget-friendly list in hand, you'll be ready to make nutritious and inexpensive meals the family will enjoy!