Tired of spending too much money on groceries all to have it disappear before you know it? Try out these frugal living tips that will help you to save money when you grocery shop and still eat delicious, made from scratch meals.
Have you jumped onto the frugal living bandwagon and are looking for more ways to trim your budget? There are so many different areas in your life where you can cut your expenses.
We live in a world where over-spending is normal and products and consumerism and thrown at us everywhere we look. If you like the old fashioned lifestyle, then the spending is probably not for you or its something you’d like to reduce.
Its difficult to make the adjustment of switching to a frugal lifestyle, but there are several small things you can work on that will help!
Obviously a huge part of living more frugally is being aware of and in control of your grocery budget. This means planning meals that aren’t overly expensive, not wasting food, and understanding how to save money in this area.
If you feel like you’re spending too much money on groceries each week, all to have it not last or food go bad, then the tips below are for you! They are also for you if you want to feel more confident in your meal planning and make sure that you’re feeding your family high-quality, made from scratch meals.
I haven’t always been great at grocery budgeting and frugal meal planning (and I still struggle with both at times). But, these tips are some of the things that I know help me and will hopefully help you as well.
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Tips for Incorporating Frugal Living Into Your Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning
There are a number of different ways that you can incorporate frugal living into your grocery shopping and meal planning. I’m not going to talk about it in the tips below, but I think it can be very helpful budget wise to have a meal plan.
If you’d like some tips for meal planning made from scratch meals each week, let me know in the comments below and I can put together a post!
Otherwise, lets embrace frugal living together, starting with our meal plans and grocery lists.
1) Assess your fridge, freezer, and pantry before you go grocery shopping or make your grocery lists.
One of the biggest things that can cause you to waste money with your grocery budget and meal planning is to let food go bad.
Planning your meals throughout the week around things you already have or food that’s close to expiring will help you to save a ton of money!
Each week (or however often you grocery shop) take a quick look over your fridge, freezer, and pantry. First, see what is close to expiring, and try to incorporate those ingredients into that weeks meals. Then, just see what else you have that can be used in meals, whether its going bad or not.
You don’t want to be buying doubles of anything, and you also don’t want to not be taking advantage of the ingredients and foods you already have.
Its also important with this respect to make sure that your fridge, freezer, and pantry are clean and organized. This way you’ll be able to see everything that you have. Nothing will be sitting in the back of your fridge rotting or hidden in your pantry not being utilized.
A good habit to get into is doing a quick cleaning and organizing of your fridge, freezer, and pantry about once a week. Once a week may seem like a lot, but when you’re doing it this often it will be quick and easy, and should only take a few minutes.
Throw away anything that went bad (hopefully there won’t be much as you get better at it). Move the food and packaged goods that are close to going bad or expiring to the front so you can remember to use them asap.
2) Cook food from scratch as often as possible.
MOST of the time, cooking food from scratch will save you money. There are of course some things that will be cheaper to buy. Usually in those cases though the quality suffers and its worth it to make it yourself anyways.
Bread and baked goods are a great place to start if you’re not used to cooking from scratch. You can make everything from your own sandwich bread to homemade muffins and crackers.
As you start to get a feel for the ingredients you use the most of when cooking food from scratch, you can buy those in bulk.
I don’t recommend buying too many things in bulk right away, because you might end up letting more things go bad than you’d like. Its better to familiarize yourself with cooking from scratch first.
See what your family loves and what you make the most often. Then you can assess whether or not you should be buying certain ingredients in bulk.
Cooking from scratch is not only a money saver, its also better for you, and way more tasty! It takes some practice and getting used to, but you can do it. Make some goals for yourself like cooking/baking one new thing from scratch each week.
It will be an awesome step in the direction of frugal living.
3) Plan meals throughout the week that will coincide with one another.
When you make your meal plans each week, try to plan recipes that have similar ingredients. They don’t have to be similar meals! Just recipes that use some of the same ingredients.
For example, some days I’ll do a whole, roasted chicken for dinner (or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store). My husband and I and our little boy can’t eat a whole chicken in one meal. So, for the next day’s meal I’ll plan on making something to use the leftover chicken, like chicken burritos or a chicken soup.
On the same note, if you have to buy an ingredient for a recipe and you know you won’t use it all, plan a recipe for later in the week that will use the rest of it.
If you need canned tomatoes for spaghetti on Monday, and you know its cheaper to buy them in bulk, then plan a meal for Thursday or Friday that will use canned tomatoes again.
This tip is especially important for ingredients and foods that will expire quicker like fresh fruits/vegetables, dairy, defrosted or cooked meat, etc.
4) Have one or two grocery items that you allow yourself to splurge on each week.
This might not seem like a way to embrace frugal living, but it is! Its important to make sure you’re not depriving yourself which will just cause you to feel bitter. OR you may break down and buy allll of the things.
When you go to the grocery store each week allow yourself to buy one ‘treat’. It doesn’t have to be a food item, just something that will make you feel good. You can put a budget on the treat item, or just be aware and try not to go overboard.
When I buy that one special item each week (usually my go-to is some good quality dark chocolate) I don’t feel as inclined to buy anything else. Sometimes it can be hard walking through the grocery store seeing all of the things you could be buying that aren’t in your budget or on your grocery list.
When you let yourself have one small thing that you’ll love, the whole experience will be so much better.
I’ve had times where I didn’t plan ahead on buying that one thing, and I ended up caving and getting a bunch of different items that weren’t on my list.
5) Grow your own food and/or learn to barter.
This tip may not be as easily applied right away, but its definitely worth looking into!
Growing (and sometimes raising) your own food can save you a lot of money on your grocery budget.
When done correctly, a small vegetable garden can help you to save a ton of money on produce every year. Then, when you can learn how to can and preserve your harvest, you’ll be able to save even more.
Of course, you’ll have to have the space available to grow a garden. Small space gardening is huge right now though and you can find plenty of tips by doing a quick google or Pinterest search.
Another way to save money and eat high quality, homegrown food without growing it yourself, is to barter with local farmers and producers.
If you’re not familiar with bartering, its when you exchange one item for another item, no money involved.
Say you don’t have the means to grow a vegetable garden, but you do have a lovely apple tree by your home that produces plenty of apples every year. Maybe there is a neighbor in your community or a farmer in your area that would love to trade you some of their homegrown vegetables for some of your apples. So you barter, or make a trade!
Now, are you ready to tackle your grocery budget and meal planning so you can embrace a more frugal living lifestyle?! What other frugal living tips do you have? Let me know in the comments below.