Pinching Pennies: How I Save On Groceries

Groceries are something that many people would love to save on because they are something that must be purchased. 

I've been in line behind people who must throw everything and anything in their cart and I will admit that I've staggered at their total. Yes, I have seen their totals. A few hundred dollars in one shopping trip would give me a heart attack! I use a few strategies to be able to make the most of our monthly grocery budget. 

First off, we are a family of three (almost four!). Babies and toddlers have to be fed too but fortunately they do not eat as much as teenage boys! However, we do have to account for diapers, wipes, diaper creams and all of that extra stuff. I previously wrote a post on saving on diapers. If you need to refer to that, please do! 

Our budget for the month is $375. This includes a $50 allowance for diapers and wipes. I am usually under that but somehow end up finding out a way to spend the extra with stocking up on other essentials. Sometimes I get upset with myself over this but remember that I am glad we at least at the money to do so. 

I have four main strategies when it comes to saving money on groceries. 

1) Coupons. I use coupons when possible. I plan our meals around the best deals or stock up for meals that we will have later on in the month. Couponing is a great strategy if you have the extra time to do so. I would say I only spend 1-2 hours a week on coupons for my grocery trip and save between 30%-45% on my trip between sales and coupons. If you are looking for some great sites to help out with couponing trip Hip2Save, The Krazy Coupon Lady and if you are in my area Deal Detecting Diva

2) Stocking Up. With sales and coupons comes the ability to stock up on items. I load up on as many items as I have coupons for when they are free or very, very inexpensive. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, razors, shaving cream, toilet paper, canned goods and cereal are some items that I seem to have a ton of all of the time. Meat is another awesome item to stock up on if you have a freezer. I like to get as much chicken as my budget will handle when it goes to its' lowest price. 

3) Meal Planning. If you do not have time to coupon, this is seriously your best bet! Knowing what you are going to have for meals for the week will help you prepare for your grocery shopping trip to really purchase what you need. You will have less impulse buying and less running to the store to grab something for a meal during the week. I use favorite recipes plus Pinterest to help spice up my menu. I went a little crazy last week and was able to plan meals for two entire weeks. Anything highlighted in red means that it is a Pinterest recipe. 

My Menu Planning in my DIY Planner

Baked Apples w/ Oatmeal Streusel Topping and Ice Cream from this week's Menu

4) Once a Week Shopping. I plan for one grocery shopping trip a week. This cuts out extra trips which usually result in spending extra money. I am also able to try to set weekly budgets to help me stay on track with my monthly grocery budget. 

I actually love to grocery shop most of the time. I think that I am able to find a love for it because I have the trip planned out with coupons, a list of items I need for the menu and a budget. When I know these things I can go in the store with an agenda instead of roaming around buying things that look good. It's not that I don't add items to my cart that I simply want instead of need, I just know whether I can or not depending on our budget. 

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