3 Ways to Stick to Your Grocery Shopping Budget
I’ll be the first to admit that married life has been amazing. I have heard tons of people say living with someone is so different, that you really learn about someone’s quirks and bad habits. While this is definitely true, I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Thankfully, Jacob and I think fairly the same. One thing we agree on is sticking to a budget, even when we go grocery shopping.
Groceries are EXPENSIVE, especially when you’re trying to eat clean and organic.
Jacob and I have always been really into food (hence why I always talk about food on my blog), this is something that has helped us bond. While we were dating, we spent SO MUCH money going out and eating. We both now wish we would have saved that money and cooked at home. (If you’re dating, save your money!) Of course, we had so much fun going to different restaurants and trying different foods but wow, food everywhere is expensive.
In our effort of saving money and cooking at home we do several things, such as create a menu for the week, budget money for groceries, and shop smart.
1. Budget money for groceries
This is the FIRST thing that you need to do. For Jacob and I, we tend to spend roughly about $120 a week on groceries. This amount does not include the random trips I take to the grocery store to get one or two items throughout the week.
You will need to sit down and physically write out or type out a budget. You have to figure out what works best for you. For me, writing things out helps me and maybe it’ll work for you too. Some apps that I recommend for budgeting are: Mint and EveryDollar.
2. Create a menu for the week & a shopping list
The first few times we tried creating a menu before grocery shopping was easy. We were excited to plan what we were going to eat and make fun food. After a while though, the excitement wore off. It became difficult to come up with new dishes that we wanted to eat and I didn’t want to make the same things over and over again. That’s where Pinterest comes in, (check mine out Think and Bee Happy). Pinterest is awesome for searching for dishes to make. They have everything, just search for what you’re looking for and you’ll find so many results. Some of my searching include “easy dinner recipes”, “easy & healthy dinner recipes” and “meatless dinner recipes”.
Here is an example of a weeks menu that we’ve done before:
Monday – Rice, beans, tostones, & fried egg
Tuesday – Grilled chicken salad
Wednesday – Barbacoa tacos
Thursday – Veggie stir fry
Friday – Shrimp & broccoli
For Saturday & Sunday, I never know what to do! That’s definitely something that I have to work on. Sometimes we’ll buy a frozen pizza when we’re shopping so that on a day where we don’t want to cook, we can just make that.
With creating your menu, you have to write out your shopping list as well! Just like I mentioned about writing out your budget, you have to write out your shopping list and STICK TO IT. Jacob always wants to add things while we’re shopping and I’m the one that says “If it’s not on the list, we’re not getting it!”. Our list tends to be the same every week which makes shopping easier.
Example of the staples of our shopping list:
Fruits – Bananas, strawberries, lemons
Veggies – broccoli, asparagus, red & green peppers, tomatoes, avocados
Black beans, oatmeal, peanut butter, coffee creamer, almond milk
You’ll notice that there several staples that are not on our list. Here are things we try to limit in our diet:
Bread – We eat sourdough bread and still only a little every week
Pasta – We eat pasta only every once in a while
Dairy – We drink almond milk and use almond milk coffee creamer. We do have some mozzarella cheese but we rarely eat cheese.
3. Shop smart
We try to eat organic and clean. Jacob is always saying “80, 20”, basically we try to eat clean 80% of the time and the other 20% we can indulge a little. Well, everyone knows that when you eat organic and clean that means your bill is going to skyrocket, unfortunately. In order for us to eat clean but still save money, we shop the dirty dozen list and everything else we buy non-organic (unless it’s on sale). You do not have to buy everything organic, especially if you don’t have the money to. Do not break the bank and leave yourself broke each month because of the prices of organic and clean food.
The dirty dozen list
The dirty dozen list is a list made up of 12 fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides. The list for 2019:
Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes
Clean 15 list
The clean 15 list is made up of fruits and vegetables that did not have traces of pesticides. The list for 2019:
Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas,onions, papayas, eggplants, asparagus, kiwis, cabbage,cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms, honeydew melons
This list does say “A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.” from EWG.
EWG is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to making sure you know what is in your food, your shampoo, water and air.
“The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.”
According to EWG, “Nearly 70 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues… More than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could contain up to 18 different residues.”
Frozen vs. Fresh
I never liked frozen food, I don’t know how frozen food got a bad name. Maybe it’s just me that sees them as being bad but I never bought frozen food until now. I have learned that frozen food is awesome! (By frozen food I mean frozen veggies and fruits.) There are several reasons why I think this and why I think everyone should be buying frozen fruits and veggies.
Frozen veggies are harvested when their freshness and nutritional value are at its peak.
Fresh veggies lose their nutritional value during transport.
Frozen veggies have a longer shelf life.
We don’t buy everything frozen. The only things we buy frozen are green beans, broccoli, red & green peppers, and mixed berries (perfect for smoothies).
Generic vs. name brand
Under this “shop smart” initiative, we also buy generic when it’s cheaper.
For most of our meat products we buy from Fresh Market (Every Tuesday they have awesome sales on their meat) and for everything else we buy from Publix. From these grocery stores we may buy Publix brand canned black beans or their frozen mixed berries. Publix also provides an organic generic brand, Greenwise, that we love to buy from.
My last tip: Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale
This is something that I have a hard time sticking to. If I see a “BOGO” sign I have to get it, and then Jacob has to reel me back in. I just get so excited when I see a sale (this is something that I have been working on). Like I said previously, if it’s not on your list then you do not need it.
I do get even more excited when items that are on my list is on sale, like this cereal
So for next week, I challenge YOU (if you aren’t already budgeting) to budget money for groceries, create a shopping list and a menu for the week and to shop smart.
Let me know how it goes and if it helps!
Here is a grocery list to help you:
Coming up next to the blog is homemade dairy-free coffee creamer & milk, a brewery in Omaha, Ga, and a review of Smile Brilliant. I cannot wait to share with you all everything that is coming! If you have any recommendations of what I should write about next please share, I want to write about what you want to read about.
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