9 Tips How to Stay on a Grocery Budget

How to Stay on a Grocery Budget

These simple tips and ideas will help you know how to create a grocery budget, learn how to stay on a grocery budget, and reduce grocery spending.

 

Trying to stay on a grocery budget can be challenging. There are times when it may seem like there is never enough money left at the end of the month to purchase the groceries you need.

For some, you are trying to figure out how much money would be reasonable to spend on groceries and how to stick to a food budget. You might wonder how you can reduce your grocery spending.

For others, a grocery budget may seem restrictive and that you can’t buy your favorite things.

Whatever the challenge, your monthly grocery budget can have an impact on your overall financial situation, so it’s important to learn how to stay on a grocery budget.

If you struggle with how to stick with a grocery budget and make it work, or if you’re not sure of how to create a grocery budget, below are 9 tips to help you know how to stay on a grocery budget, create a grocery budget, and reduce your grocery budget over time.

 

Sign up below to receive a FREE Grocery Budget Tracker Worksheet printable to help you keep track of your weekly and monthly grocery spending.

 

 

 

1. Calculate Your Current Spending

Before you can figure out how to stay on a grocery budget, you need to first know how much money you are currently spending on groceries.

This may take some of your time, but look back at your bank statements for the past 3-4 months and take a monthly average to see how much money you’ve been spending on groceries.

Another option to figure out what your spending on groceries is to track your food spending this month by keeping all your grocery receipts and writing it down on a paper or notebook.

Doing this will give you a good idea of how much money you are spending on groceries.

 

How to create a grocery budget

 

2. How to Create a Grocery Budget

Now that you know about how much money you spend on groceries in a month, you can create a realistic grocery budget.

Every family is different and has different needs. A grocery budget will be unique to your family situation, where you live, and your dietary needs. So it’s important to figure out a grocery budget that will work for you.

A recommendation and starting point when creating a grocery budget is to budget $100 per family member per month.

For a single-person, start with a base amount of $200. For a two-person household, start with a base of $300. This allows for room in the budget to stock up on sale items.

For my family, our food budget for a family of 5 is $500 per month.

When grocery shopping weekly, break the monthly grocery budget total down into weeks. And each week only spend that amount when you grocery shop. For example, for our family that would be $125 for a weekly grocery budget.

So you might be asking, “What should I include in my grocery budget?”

Some people say that the grocery budget is just that–groceries only.

However, for our family, our grocery budget also includes household and personal hygiene items.

I think it’s completely doable to include household and personal hygiene items in the grocery budget, but every family’s situation is different, so you decide what will work best for your family’s grocery budget.

With any extra money leftover at the end of the month, I also purchase extra food items that I can keep in my kitchen pantry and in my basement food storage.

As your grocery budget allows, try to purchase 2-4 extra items each grocery shopping trip when an item is on sale. This will save you money because it’s on sale, and then you’ll have the item on hand for a dinner another day.

This could also save you from having to run to the store in the middle of the week because you will already have the item in your pantry that you need for dinner.

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How to Create a Budget + Free Budget Worksheet

how to create a budget

Whether you’ve never budgeted or are wanting to improve your budgeting skills, here you will learn how to create a budget and implement it, plus you can get a free budget worksheet.

 

Learning how to budget can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.

A budget will help you be in control of your money and choose where you want to spend it. It also helps you become more aware of where you are spending your money.

Once you learn how to create a budget, as well as some basic budgeting principles, then you’ll be able to save money and start seeing a difference in your finances.

Before learning how to create a budget, be sure to first print off the FREE budget worksheet (sign up below to get it), and fill it out while you walk through the budgeting principles below. 

 

 

 

 

 

I put together a video of how to use the free budget worksheet and also talk about the basics to budgeting. Watch the video above or click the link here to view it on my YouTube channel.

 

What are the Steps to Creating a Budget?

Here is how to create a budget and also use the free budget template printable worksheet.

1. Set Financial Goals

Since you are reading this, you are most likely motivated to start budgeting.

Before you start your budget, determine what is motivating you to do this and then set some financial goals. Are you wanting to get out of debt or save up a down payment for a home? Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck or save for a big family vacation?

Whatever your motivation is, you need to keep these financial goals in mind as you are budgeting each month. Write these goals down because they will help keep you on track and focused each month.

It’s also important that you have financial goals with specific numbers. For instance, how much money are you wanting to save each month? Which debt will you pay off first and how much money can you afford to put toward it each month?

Make sure these goals are realistic and achievable. You may not be able to save $500 a month, but maybe you can save $200 a month.

In order to save $200, that would mean setting aside $50 a week. In order to save $50 every week, some things you could do is don’t eat out, cut your grocery bill down, don’t go to the convenience store to grab a drink, or cut out subscription services.

It’s the small changes that make a difference over time.

Once you’ve determined what your financial goals are and printed off the free budget worksheet, then the next step is how to start budgeting.

 

2. Determine Income and Expenses

First, add up all of your sources of income and determine how much money you have coming in every month. This includes day jobs, night jobs and side jobs.

Add this to the top of the free budget worksheet template.

Now under the expenses section, divvy up and allocate how much money should go to each expense budget category.

Start by listing the expenses that are “needs”. This includes mortgage/rent, utilities, food/groceries, and transportation. Write down when these expenses are due so you pay them on time, and write under the “budgeted amount” column how much money will go toward each expense.

An example of the budget worksheet might look something like the one below. This is just an example. Tailor the budget worksheet to fit your income and expenses. Grab the free budget worksheet above.

free budget worksheet template

 

Click here to open the example budget worksheet in a PDF format. 

 

Once you’ve written down your “needs” expenses, then continue to write down other expenses from more important to less important. Additional expense categories could include debt, insurance, medical, eating out, clothing, pet, holidays, birthdays, charitable giving, savings, etc.

If you are unsure of how much to budget next to each expense, it will be helpful if you take time to analyze your spending and figure out where your money is being spent. Look at your bank statement to see which categories are taking the most of your income. By looking at this, you’ll be able to budget about how much you spend in each expense category. And by seeing where your money is going, you’ll also be more mindful of your spending.

It’s also important to budget realistic amounts for each expense category and stick to the budget. Remember that if the money runs out, then you can’t spend more on that category until the next month.

At the bottom of the “Budgeted Amount” column, the total expenses should equal your total income. Meaning all of your income money is accounted for and allocated to a budget category. This is called a zero-based budget when you tell every dollar where it needs to go.

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21 Tips How to Spend Less Money on Groceries

how to spend less money on groceries

 

21 tips how to spend less money on groceriesThese 21 tips will teach you how to spend less money on groceries

 

One of the biggest expenses for families each month, after housing and transportation, is purchasing food. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend more than $7,700 per year on groceries and going out to eat. That’s almost $650 per month!

If you aren’t watching your grocery budget, those quick trips to the grocery store to purchase just $20 or $30 worth of food really do add up.

To help you spend less money on groceries, here are 21 tips how to save on groceries every month.

 

Above is a video of my top 10 tips on how to save money on groceries. If you can’t see the video, head over here to my YouTube channel to watch it.

And after making the video, I compiled this more detailed list of 21 tips how to save money on groceries and household items.

 

how to spend less money on groceries

 

1. Meal Plan

I get asked all the time how to save money on groceries, because I only spend about $400 per month on groceries for our family of five. And the number one tip I share that helps me save the most money on my groceries is to meal plan.

Putting together a meal plan and making sure you know exactly what you’ll need to purchase at the grocery store can help you stick to your grocery budget. You’ll be able to save money because you won’t need to run to the grocery store multiple times per week, and you can just stick to your once a week (or in my case once every two weeks) grocery shopping trip. You’ll also save time because every day you’ll know what to make for dinner and you won’t spend extra time thinking about “What’s for dinner?”

If you aren’t sure how much money to budget for your family, a good starting place is $100 per each person in the family starting at base of $300 per month.

So for a family of four, the budget would be $400 a month. This is just a general starting idea, and of course there are exceptions to this guideline. Some families can get by spending less per month. For others, they will need to spend more if they have family members with allergies or teenagers who are growing and consuming a lot of food.

If you want to get better at meal planning or see how I meal plan, head over to the post 6 Tips How to Successfully Meal Plan. It shows you how I plan my family meals, gives you ideas of how to create a menu plan, and how to prepare meals ahead of time. I also share new dinner ideas on the post.

And you will also like this post with 20 Easy Weeknight Dinners for the Family. If you are like me, I’m always looking for new and easy meal ideas for dinner that my family will love.

For those of you who are busy and want more help with your meal plan, Six Sisters’ Stuff has a weekly meal plan with family-friendly meals for just $48 a year. That turns out to be only $4 per month. Every week you’ll receive an email with 6 main dishes, 2 sides, 2 desserts or 1 snack/treat. You’ll also get a detailed shopping list of what to purchase each week at the store. Head over to Six Sisters’ Stuff to get more details or sign up.

 

2. Use What’s In Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer

There are many people who skip this step and head straight to the grocery store. If you don’t know what’s in your pantry, fridge or freezer that can already be used, then you are going to waste money by throwing out food.

As you begin to meal plan, look through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you have and what needs to be used up. And build your meal plan based on these items that you have on hand.

If you have food you don’t know how to use in a meal, then use sites such as Allrecipes.com and SuperCook.com. Type in the ingredients you have and it will bring up new recipe ideas with those ingredients. This is a great way to not let food go to waste.

 

3. Look at Sales Flyers

Also as you meal plan,

For instance, if broccoli is on sale, then make Chicken Broccoli Casserole and also add broccoli as a side dish to one of the other meals. If pork chops are on sale, then make Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops. And if cheese and tortillas are on sale, then make chicken enchiladas or quesadillas.

 

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How to Save 70%-90% on Kids Clothes

This post is sponsored by Kids on 45th, but all opinions are my own.

 

Best place to buy kids clothes

Can you believe it? It’s already time to start thinking about and shopping for back-to-school clothing for your kids!

I don’t know about you, but I feel that my children grow so fast. I’m constantly needing to purchase clothes for them as they outgrow their old clothes. But the cost to purchase a new wardrobe for my three children really adds up.

So I was happy to hear about Kids on 45th, an online children’s clothing site that sells nearly-new and used kids clothes online in sizes newborn to preteen/teen (14/16). This company definitely helps you save money on children’s clothing. And it’s one of the best kids secondhand clothing stores online.

Since it’s time to shop for back-to-school clothes, right now if you want to try out Kids on 45th, you can get $10 off your first order when you use the code SAVING at checkout.

Cheap Kids Clothes OnlineMy kids were all smiles opening the box from Kids on 45th and trying on the used kids clothes we purchased online.

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How to Use a Cash Envelope System & How Our Family Budgets

Cash Envelopes

 

Holding cash in an envelope

Using cash is an important part of controlling your spending. It’s not only a system for people trying to get out of debt, but it’s also for everyone because it really makes you think more about your spending.

A cash budget never lets you overspend because once the money is gone, it’s gone. In order to make this work, stop using credit cards and stash the credit cards where it’s hard to get to them. You could also place your credit cards in a Ziploc bag and freeze them in water.

 

envelopes with cash

WHAT IS THE CASH ENVELOPE SYSTEM?

The cash envelope system divides your spending into small categories or budgets. And each category has its own envelope to help you manage your money better and help you intentionally think about how you’re spending your money. Having to hand cash to a cashier really does make you think twice about impulse buys. And setting aside money in an envelope for larger expenses helps relieve the burden when the bill comes due.

To begin using a cash envelope system, start by making a list of all your expenses and then decide which categories to make cash only. With your monthly bills, you can continue to have those deducted from your bank account. Here is a list of cash only categories you could have:

  • Groceries
  • Clothing
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Hair Cuts/ Beauty
  • Doctor and Dentist Visits/Medicine
  • Miscellaneous Spending
  • Home Repairs
  • Vacations
  • Christmas
  • Car Insurance/Other Insurance

 

cash envelopes

HOW MUCH CASH TO TAKE OUT?

In order to determine how much cash you need to take out of each paycheck, take the total monthly amount for each category and divide it by two if you get paid every two weeks or divide it by four weeks if you get paid weekly. For instance, we have a monthly grocery budget of $400, and we get paid twice a month. If I divide $400 by two that’s $200 that we take out per pay check to use on groceries.

Additionally, break the cash down into weekly spending. For instance, if I pull $200 from each paycheck for two weeks of groceries and if I were to go to the store weekly, then I would only allot myself $100 per week to spend at the grocery store. That way I still have money to spend on groceries each week and I won’t come up short.

Here is another example. If your car insurance is $700 per year and you only receive the bill once a year, then in order to determine how much money to take out each paycheck, divide $700 by 12 months, which comes out to be about $58 per month. If you get paid twice a month, then you divide the $58 by two, which means you need to take out $29 per paycheck and set it aside in an envelope or bank account so you have the money to pay for car insurance when it comes due.

Once you decide the categories and determine how much cash will go into each envelope, then go to the bank and withdraw the cash each time you deposit your paycheck. Then place the cash in each category envelope. I don’t use anything fancy, just some blank envelopes that are located by my desk, and I write the category on the outside of the envelope.

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The Best Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Deals

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy here.The best black friday deals 2018

Here are some of the best Cyber Monday deals:

Amazon has some great Cyber Monday deals. Check out all the Amazon deals here. Here are just a few deals:

Best Buy – Grab this Gourmia 6-Quart Pressure Cooker in Stainless Steel/Black for only $39.99 shipped (regularly $79.99). Check out all of the Best Buy Cyber Monday deals here.

Cents of Style has the popular Tig sweater for 50 % off with the code CYBERSTYLE, which makes it only $27.47. Plus shipping is free.

Famous Footwear has a BOGO 1/2 off plus 15% off when you use the code CYBER18.

Get Away Today is offering an Adults at Kids’ Prices deal for Disneyland tickets with a major price cut for spring travel dates, which means you can save up to $95 per ticket over annual pricing.

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7 Tips to Save Money Now for Christmas

7 Tips to Save Money Now for Christmas

The holidays are coming up quickly, and I want to share with you tips to save money for Christmas because the last thing we want is to have credit card bills that need paid off in January because that is a financial stress.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of people have credit card bills from shopping during the holidays, so watch the video below to get 7 tips to save money for Christmas that have helped our family so we aren’t paying off Christmas items after the holidays. If you start now, you can save money to help pay for Christmas.

 

 

 

If you can’t see the YouTube video, head over to my channel here, and be sure to subscribe. And for those of you who like to read the post instead of watch the video, here are the 7 tips to save money now for Christmas.

 

1. Set a budget

First, determine how much money you are going to spend on Christmas, and set a budget.

To figure out how much you’ll spend, look back and calculate how much you spent last Christmas. That should give you an idea of what you think you’ll spend this year. It might also help you realize that you spent more than you planned and that you need to cut back on some Christmas items or presents this year.

But when setting a budget, be sure not to set it too tight because it’s nice to have a little wiggle room for last minute purchases. And don’t forget to include in your budget the extras such stocking stuffers, Christmas cards, and holiday home decorations.

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11 Tips to Save Money on Amazon

11 tips to save money on amazon

Amazon.com can be a great place to find good deals on products and to get fast shipping. But just because you love shopping on Amazon, it doesn’t mean you are always saving money on the product you are purchasing. Find out if Amazon has the best deal on the product you are purchasing by reading these 8 Ways to Save Money Shopping Online. If you do find that you are getting a good deal on an item you are buying from Amazon, there may be other ways you can still save money on Amazon when shopping online. Here are 11 tips to save money on Amazon.

 

1. Amazon Warehouse Deals

Amazon Warehouse Deals is where you will find discounts on open-box and pre-owned products such as computers, laptops, tablets, televisions, cell phones, power tools, grocery, toys, games, kitchen and dining and so much more. These items have been returned, used, damaged in a warehouse or refurbished. Items are sorted by condition, so you’ll know if the item you purchased is in good condition. This is a place to find quality used products that you won’t pay as much for the product.

Within the Amazon Warehouse Deals is a Bargain Bin where everything is 50% off or more. It has overstocks, closeouts, markdowns, and last years models on products that are still new and ready to purchase.  If Amazon needs to get rid of inventory, it goes into this section.

 

2. Amazon Gold Box

To find great deals, keep an eye on Amazon’s Gold Box page, which features “Today’s Deals” and includes a “Deal of the Day” and “Lightning Deals”, which are hour-long lightning sales, price-reduced items and limited-time offers from around the site.

 

3. Amazon Coupons

Before you purchase products on Amazon such as household products, personal care or groceries, check out Amazon’s coupons here to see if there is a coupon that you can use to get a discount on the item.

 

4. Amazon Subscribe and Save

When you sign up for Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save”, you’ll get discounts on thousands of everyday items such as baby and laundry products. All you need to do is choose the option Subscribe & Save, which will be located to the right of the product, and you can save up to 15% on your entire order. Plus, it includes free shipping. The product will then be shipped to you every month or every other month. However, you can change how often a product is shipped to you or skip an order.  After you receive a product, you can also cancel Subscribe & Save at any time.

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9 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Your Finances

9 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Finances

Whether you are starting a New Year’s resolution to get in a better financial position or continuing to work toward your financial goals, you’ll want to use a budget app to help you with your finances. Budget apps are a great tool for managing your money, sticking to a budget and reviewing your spending habits to identify where money might be wasted. If you are like most people, you have your phone with you almost every where you go, which makes it easy in this digital age to have control of your finances at your fingertips if you have a budget app on your phone.

Here are 9 budget apps (most of which are free to use) to help you keep track of your money so you can get a better handle on your finances and put yourself in a better financial position this year.

 

1 – Mint

Mint takes the hassle out of creating a budget. It helps you manage your spending, saving and earnings, and can even sync to all your accounts including your bank and credit card accounts, 401(k), IRA and savings accounts, as well as all your monthly bills, so all your finances are in one convenient place. Mint lets you know when bills are due, what you owe and what you can pay. The app can also send you payment reminders so you can avoid late fees. Mint gives you a big picture view of your financial situation. It shows you all the recent transactions you’ve made, how you’ve been using your accounts, your account totals, monthly budget, credit score, spending organized by category, and even alerts for when you go over budget. The Mint app is free to use.

 

2 – EveryDollar

EveryDollar was created by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. The app helps you create a monthly budget and more easily facilitate the Dave Ramsey’s baby steps budgeting. I’ve read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book about the seven baby steps and it’s one that everyone should read to stay motivated on your journey to financial freedom. EveryDollar is based on the envelope method and the principle of giving every single dollar a job. The app starts you with eight main budgeting categories that include the following: Giving, Savings, Housing, Transportation, Food, Lifestyle, Insurance & Tax, and Debt. You can add more categories to tailor it to your budget needs. Then you assign available funds for each category, and as transactions are entered, the amount is deducted from the appropriate category. The EveryDollar basic version of the app is free.

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4 Tips to Get Out of Debt Video

4 Tips to Get Out of Debt

Not having enough money to pay the bills and continuing to accumulate debt is stressful and it becomes a burden. It’s not easy to get out of debt and stay out of debt. However, if you want to get out of debt, it’s going to take sacrifice, discipline and hard work, but in the end it will be worth it. Once you get out of debt, that burden of debt hanging over you will be gone and you’ll have a financial peace of mind. You’ll also be able to take that money that was once going toward debt and instead use it to do things that are important to you and your family.

Watch the 4 Tips to Get Out of Debt video below so you can put yourself in a better financial position. This is your year to get your finances in control!

 

If you can’t view the video here, head over to my YouTube Channel here to watch it. Here is the link to the book, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.

I didn’t explain how the debt snowball works as well as I wanted to on this video, so here is more of an explanation. Here is an example of how to use a debt snowball if you had the following debts:

Debt 1: Store Credit Card $400 Interest Rate: 7% Minimum payment: $25

Debt 2: Credit Card $4,000 Interest Rate: 14% Minimum payment: $70

Debt 3: Car Loan $10,000 Interest Rate: 4% Minimum payment: $250

Debt 4: Student Loan $15,000 Interest Rate: 3% Minimum payment: $150

First, pay the minimum payments on all of the debts each month, then start to get rid of them one by one. For this example, we’ll say that you find an extra $300 a month in your budget by earning extra money from a side job and cutting your discretionary income. Note: To pay down your debt sooner, look for jobs to earn extra money. This may be watching children, delivering newspapers or cleaning houses. Also, look into selling items around the house by determining what you can live without, and then hold a yard sale or sell the items online. Since the first debt is small, get it paid off quickly.

For Debt 1, you’ll pay $325 toward it (this is the $300 extra income you find + $25 minimum payment) and you’ll have it paid off within less than 2 months. Now take that $325 and put it toward Debt 2. When you do that you’ll be paying $395 toward Debt 2 each month ($325 + $70 minimum payment). Once Debt 2 is paid off, then take the $395 and put it toward Debt 3 so you’ll pay $645 toward it each month ($395 + $250 minimum payment). Then once you pay off Debt 3, you’ll pay $795 to Debt 4 each month ($645 + $150 minimum payment) until it’s paid off.

 

 

get out of debtYou can also read the post 4 Important Steps to Get Out of Debt, by heading over here.

 

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