The first step is the most important: Determine what will work for your family! Don’t compare your budget to others as every family has specific needs. We have no food allergies, dietary restrictions or picky eaters.To find our ideal budget, I tracked our grocery spending over the course of a year. I kept track of what we spent every month to the penny minus all rebates received and then at the end of the year, took an average. Every six months or so, I re-evaluate our budget and have increased on a few occasions.
Inventory your pantry, refrigerator and freezer
Make note of the items you generally have on hand and that your family likes to eat most often. There are a few items we always have: diced tomatoes, frozen veggies, pasta, canned beans, oats, brown rice. You get the picture. When in doubt, I can make something edible out of the items above.
Start a price book
Starting with the items you purchase the most, start writing down prices you see, including the unit price. Products come in so many different sizes and types, you won’t get a true picture unless you look at the “per ounce” or “per pound” price. Know what is the lowest price for an item. This will start to give you an idea of when to stock up.
Don’t blow your budget on stock piling!
When you find a good price, buy just a few more than you normally would. Remember, sales cycle around all the time. As a general rule, items go on sale every six weeks or so. You don’t have to spend half your budget to stock up on one item, it will be on sale again! This was hard for me to understand at first. Continue reading…