I don’t know about you, but keeping that grocery budget in check over the last few months has been HARD. For someone who used to be able to spend only $100 per week on food for the entire family, lately it’s been a challenge to keep it under $200.
…and that’s where we need to stay if we’re going to meet our goals this year…
Knowing that you might also be struggling to keep the food budget in check, I thought I’d share three strategies that have worked for us over the past few months. All with the hope that you can survive your grocery budget in 2024 and meet your bigger financial goals.
Strategy #1: Plan Your Meals Ahead
One of the biggest ways that we save money and are able to stick to the grocery budget we set is because we plan our meals out ahead. And not just for the week – although that can be helpful, too. We actually sit down at the start of each month and put together a calendar of the entire month’s meals.
I take the time to inventory the fridge and freezer so we know what we already have, then we gather as a family to discuss which meals we want to add to the calendar. We also add in a “leftovers” night each week to make sure we aren’t wasting any food.
And while each week doesn’t look exactly the same, we do try to reuse meals a couple of times throughout the month if they are ones we enjoy or we have a lot of the necessary ingredients.
In addition to saving money at the grocery store, there’s also no guesswork about what’s for dinner tonight, tomorrow, or the rest of the week. Each night I’m able to look at our menu, pull any frozen ingredients out to thaw, and be confident that I have everything I need to make our family meals for the following day.
Tip: Grab my meal planning worksheets AND get an inside look at the actual meal plan my family is using this month. You can find them HERE.
Strategy #2: Buy in Bulk – If You’ll Use It
Another strategy we’ve used effectively is to purchase items in bulk. Often we find amazing deals on meat, produce, and other items just buying a larger quantity. Of course, we have to know that it’s something we’ll use (menu plan for the win!) and be able to afford the larger upfront expense.
Because we receive monthly income, the upfront expense isn’t a challenge for us. If your income is weekly or twice per month, though, you might choose to meal plan and grocery shop only for that pay period so you don’t overdraft your account. Either way, purchasing in bulk can still be effective.
So, how do these bulk purchases play into the weekly grocery budget?
Well, if I know that I’m going to go to Costco and purchase $500 worth of groceries, that seems like a LOT in comparison to a $200 per week grocery budget, right? And yet, if I already know my menu for the month and have a clear list of what I need to make that happen, then that $500 will be split across each week of the month.
$500 ÷ 4 (weeks) = $125 per week
That means that I have $75 left each week for those incidentals that I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) purchase in bulk.
The key to purchasing in bulk really comes down to knowing what you’ll need (menu planning) and making sure that you can use the item or freeze it prior to it’s expiration.
Tip: Grab my FREE bulk grocery list template HERE.
Strategy #3: Stick to the List
Once you know WHAT you’re shopping for and WHERE you’ll do that shopping, the next critical step is to stick to the list.
Honestly, I can’t say it enough: if you make a list and stick with it, you’ll save a lot of money in the long-run.
Take the time to go through your fridge, freezer and pantry to make sure you don’t already have the items you need. Then make a thorough list of the things you’ll need.
This alone will make a huge difference when it comes to long-term success – in your grocery budget in 2024 AND in your other financial goals.
Your Grocery Budget in 2024
It could be easy to get discouraged as you see the prices of groceries increasing without your paycheck doing the same, but if you use the strategies I’m providing here, you might just find it’s not as hard as it seems.
NOTE: If you want additional help with your grocery budget or want an inside look at my meal planning and grocery shopping process, you can get access HERE.
Cheering you on!