Staying on Budget

food budget

Every week without a doubt, we all visit the grocery store.  If it’s not the grocery store, you’re at least getting food from a convenience store or fast food/regular restaurant.  Either way, your precious earned money is going right down your throat.  If you’re not smart about it, it could make you spend way more than you really need to.  Follow these steps to save you big time every week, then treat yourself to something nice!

1.  Create a list.  Planning ahead is so important for a budget.  Make a list of all the meals you want to make for the week then see what you already have.  Try to plan meals with similar ingredients so you’re not constantly buying new things.  Over time as you make new dishes, you’ll build you arsenal of ingredients…slowly.  Your wallet will be so happy.

2.  Stop buying pre-made foods.  Whether in fast food, a fancy restaurant four or five times a week or the frozen ones in the freezer section, they all add up to big bucks!  Making meals from scratch not only helps your bottom line, but it also helps you to know what exactly is going in to your foods.

3.  Don’t be tempted by a recipe you see and immediately go and buy all the ingredients.  This can be expensive when you make multiple trips to the store.  See step 1 to understand why.

4.  Have a snack before you go to the grocery store.  Being hungry while walking through a warehouse full of food can be terribly tempting.  Having a healthy snack beforehand will definitely help you make good decisions…because you don’t need those cookies or chips!

5. The fancy labels really don’t matter.  You can buy store brand milk, cheese, bread…whatever, just check the labels to be sure you’re getting the same nutritional benefits, which most will anyways.  Even some vegetables don’t need to be bought organic.  Spend your extra dough on meats, poultry and fish instead – you’ll get more benefit out of that then the other stuff.

And just one more…

6.  Have healthy snacks lying around at work or home.  Keep tea, milk and honey around.  When you’re hungry for a snack, be prepared!  At work, we have a big basket of fruit, granola bars, dark chocolate bars and trail mix along with an electric tea kettle with tons of different types of tea.  This way, Starbucks becomes a treat every once in a while instead of every single afternoon.  Or you won’t be tempted by the vending machine which is never a good idea.

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Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons - February 13, 2014

Great tips, Lauren! I’m actually just getting ready to head out to the store now. I’ve ALWAYS made a list, and I’ve just recently started typing it up and organizing it by section of the store. It’s totally OCD, but it really does save me time when I’m actually shopping. I can just breeze right through, and pick everything up in order (and eliminate impulse buys).

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    Lauren - February 13, 2014

    I agree! I’m a huge list maker as it is but this is the most important because otherwise I’d probably buy everything in the store!

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