Grocery Shopping on a Budget

The #1 budgeting question I get asked is how I grocery shop on a budget. It can be so challenging to not only set a budget but stick to it as well. Here are a couple of things I do to stay on track and how we set our grocery budget.

#1 Don’t shop hungry

I know, I know, this is the oldest rule in the book but it’s so true! I know that I’ll spend way more and on things I don’t need if I grocery shop while my belly is growling with hunger.

#2 Find your ride or die stores

My two go-to store are Costco and Trader Joe’s. Establishing your stores is important because the more you shop the better idea you’ll have of the average prices at those stores.

#3 Establish your budget

Setting a budget for groceries is all about trial and error. Look back on your last couple of trips to the grocery store to see what you’ve spent, then see how often you’re going. It’s important to see how much you’re spending each trip and how long that amount of food is lasting you.

See my blog post Let’s Talk About Budgets Baby to see how setting budgets.

#4 Stick to it!

Once you’ve set your budget and gone through the trial and error process you’re now ready to stick to that budget as best you can. Grocery shopping can be challenging in this aspect because sometimes you’ll have family over for dinner or you’ll be making food for an event. My advice for when these types of things come up, just roll with it. As long as you’re on or near your budget, you’re doing just fine!

#5 Plan, plan, plan!

I recommend shopping weekly, and planning your meals. For example:

Monday night: spaghetti

What I’ll need: pasta, sauce, parm, etc.

By doing this you’ll only buy what you need for each meal. Then map out breakfast, lunches and snacks the same way.

#6 Beware of pre-prepared

Pre-prepared food is da best! I get sucked into them myself, notice the chocolate covered bananas in my cart! However, you’re going to be paying more for something that somebody else prepared. For example, pre-made salads from TJ’s. So good yet so expensive! Take the extra time to make these kinds of things because you’ll end up saving money in the long run. I recommend glancing at the ingredients, 9/10 times you’ll find that it can easily be made by you.

As always find what works best for you! I hope these simple steps help you save money on your next trip to the grocery store.

Be sure to check out my Baked Bean Spaghetti recipe, a super simple Trader Joe’s meal.