Sunday, April 6, 2014

10 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

Over the past couple of years my husband and I have been finding great ways to spend our money more wisely including how to stretch our grocery budget. Check out the tips below I have found pretty helpful!

1. Make a meal plan. Making a meal plan ensures that you have everything you need for the meals you plan to prepare. My husband gets paid every two weeks, so I plan my meals two weeks at a time.

2. I try my hardest not to go back to the store during that two week time period. Whatever I bought has to last or I just have to get creative. 

3. ALDI. They have great produce, meat, staples, etc. The only things I have found I don't like are their paper towels and toilet paper. Almost everything else is good quality and a lot cheaper than other stores!

4. Go vegetarian 2-3 times a week. Meat can get expensive so I plan several meals a week that are vegetarian such as breakfast food (pancakes or french toast), veggie pasta, veggie pizza or veggie soup.

5.  Use fillers in your meals to make it more filling without having to use a lot or any meat at all. Beans, pasta and rice are cheap and are great fillers. Add them to chili, soup, etc.

I've seen several ideas on how to use lentils to make tacos or sloppy joes. I plan to make tacos later this week with half meat, half lentils. If we like it, then I may go all lentils next time!

6. Make it yourself. There are so many packaged meals and other items out there and they can get pricey! I make homemade taco seasoning, granola bars, breads, cookies and cook my own black beans instead of buying canned. I also season my own rice for meals instead of buying the prepackaged ones. Just look up a recipe on Pinterest!

7. Making your own homemade laundry detergent and other household cleaners will save money and they are safer for your family. 

8. Snack foods such as chips can get pretty expensive. Try some homemade seasoned saltine crackers  or granola bars for as snack instead. Healthier and cheaper! 

9. ALDI  always has great prices on their produce, but if you look in their ads before you head to the store, you can find their "produce picks of the week". I always like to check that out when making my meal plans. 

Make sure to use your produce wisely too. Plan your meals so that you use veggies that may go bad faster, first. Meals I eat a salad with will get planned first, then something such as soup that you can toss anything in would be later in the week.

10. Buy in bulk. Although I haven't gotten a SAMS membership yet, I have heard buying certain staples in bulk can save you money in the long run. Since I make so many things homemade, I have been meaning to look into this some more. Does anyone have any input on whether it will actually save money after the membership fee? 

Do you have any other great money saving ideas?

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