It’s no secret that the cost of groceries is rising — I go to the grocery store several times a week and I almost always leave wondering how things got here. Eggs, which used to be well known as a cheap source of protein are now the poster child for inflated prices.
You can debate the reason for these things all day long, but the fact of the matter is that we’re here and it seem unlikely that things are going to change anytime in the near future.
Because of what I do for a living, I’m getting extra good at trying to keep a food budget that isn’t out of control. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Dinner doesn’t have to be extravagant and breakfast can be leftovers. If you are used to eating big, restaurant style meals every night, your food budget is going to be huge, even if you cook and eat at home. Dinner can be a sandwich, an omelet, or a bowl of cereal.
Make a List
If you go to the store without a list, you are going to spend more money. The longer you are in the grocery store, the more money you’ll spend. Make a list, and shop quickly. Lingering is costly.
Use What You Buy
This seems obvious, but we al know how easy it is to plan to eat a salad, buy salad, and then order pizza because, well, pizza is better than salad. Don’t just have good intentions — planning meals and sticking a plan saves money, plain and simple.
Have a Pantry Cleanout Day
Get in the habit of routinely going through the fridge and pantry and using up the leftover bits of veggies, the heal of bread, and other odds and ends that you may otherwise throw away.
Take Advantage of Shopping Services
This is largely location dependent, but most grocery stores offer some sort of pick up and delivery. Even if you pay a small fee, if you are the kind of person that can’t resist an expensive cheese or jam (hi, it’s me!) not going into the store can save you money. It can also save time, which you can use to meal prep, another budget saver.
Share with Friends
Whether it’s joining a local co-op, sharing a Costco membership, or buying a cow’s worth of beef that you share with a friend or two, splitting with friends is a great way to take advantage of savings you may not be able to on your own.