I did a post back in October on how I kept my grocery budget under $120. In that post, I had pictures of the grocery shopping I had done earlier in the day for a total of $29.76. I also listed a number of ways I keep my grocery budget so low. Today I did some grocery shopping for meat and some other misc items. Here is what I bought:
- 2 packages of chicken breasts
- 2 packages of drumsticks
- 2 whole hens
- 2 packages of chicken wings
- 1 bag of roma tomatoes
- 1 bag of onions
- 1 bag of organic baby carrots
- 2 gallons of water (not shown)
- 1 bottle of bbq sauce
Total = $24.90
One big way to save on groceries each month is to package the food you buy into servings sizes. Your serving size depends on how many people are in your family. I separate out my sizes based on how much food my daughter and I consume in one meal. Take for instance drumsticks: My daughter will eat one drumstick while I will eat two. So I package those in threes.
I know some folks are visual so here is what the groceries looked like after I cleaned and packaged them up:
I have 14 servings bags of chicken. If we ate chicken for dinner everyday, this would last us more than 2 weeks (Remember that I also bought 2 whole hens). Since sometimes we eat fish or no meat at all this will last us even longer. It might even last the whole month.
And just in case you don't feel like clicking on the link to that post from October, here is what my veggies looked like after I did my packaging thing:
I do most of my shopping at a farmer's market located across the street from my apartment complex. So the food I buy is fresh and majority are organic. So I buy organic foods and STILL stay under $100 a month. I buy other lil things like soy milk, tofu, eggs, orange juice, rice and little snacks for my daughter from Dollar General Supermarket or Walmart.
Stop buying more food than you use.
If your food is perishable, then don't buy more than you know you will cook. It makes no sense to buy a whole gallon of milk when you know it will expire in a week and you will most likely only use no more than half of it. I purchase what I know I will use. Nothing more. The only time it really makes since to buy more than you use is on items that are on sale at a ridiculously low price and have a long shelf life. If you HAVE to buy more than you use than do the following:
Freeze what you wont use in a week
This only applies to foods that perish pretty quickly. I used to have a problem with spoiled veggies and fruits. I either never got to them fast enough or I totally forgot I had them and they would go bad. Freezing my food has helped me in that area. I just wish my freezer was larger.
Organize your food
How many times has food spoiled in your fridge because you forgot it was there. Or you went shopping and bought something only to find out that you already had it in my fridge or pantry. Organize your food and it will allow you to keep a better track of what you have in your fridge and pantry.
Freeze your leftovers
There is no rule that says that you have to eat your leftovers the very next day. Freeze them and have them next week. What do you think frozen dinners are? Food that was cooked (to a point) and then frozen. Your leftovers can be handled the same way. I made chili in my crockpot 2 weeks ago and I some last night. And it was goood!! Key to make your leftovers taste even better than before......
Leftovers + Microwave = Blah!
Microwaving leftovers removes some flavor out of them and leaves them quite bland. If your leftovers taste good then you will be more likely to eat it instead of throwing it away, therefore WASTING food and throwing out money. Use your stove top, toaster oven, or stove oven to reheat your leftovers.
Invest in a crockpot
I resort to using my crockpot before I think about going shopping. Why? You’ll be amazed by the different dishes you can make using a crockpot. They usually don’t require that many ingredients and most of those are things lying around your pantry or fridge. Just throw in some veggies, meat (or no meat), broth, and your own spices and you got a banging stew. Check out this site for crockpot recipes.Stop being so conventional when it comes to cooking
Try new things. Use what you already have to create a dish. A meal does not always have to be a meat, veggie, and side. Think outside the box. Don't have the ground beef to make your lasagna? Then make yourself a banging veggie lasagna. Who said you absolutely NEEDED meat? Do this and you will cut back on those unnecessary trips to the grocery store that tend to add up big time.
Exhaust all options before going grocery shopping
You THINK you don't have food in your fridge? Let me come up in there and TRUST I will come up with a meal that would knock your socks off. Before professing to the world that you have no food at your house and you NEED to go shopping, exhaust all options first. Take an inventory of what you have and see if there isn't a meal in there hiding somewhere. You can also check out this site. It is a recipe search engine that helps you find recipes based on the ingredients you already have in your fridge.
Look, saving on groceries is not rocket science but it does take some dedication. If you are not willing to invest a lil of your time then you might as well keep doing what you are doing and spending what you're spending. You don't have to do ALL the things I listed above. Just make some changes here and there and trust me you will see a difference.