Tag Archives: grocery budget

Stretch your Grocery Budget by Buying in Bulk

Fighting overspending at the grocery store is always tough, but with Thanksgiving around the corner, the little piggy turkey on my shoulder is working overtime to convince me to ditch my regular grocery budget and fill my grocery cart to the brim with rolls, canned pumpkin, and cheese, cheese, cheese!

“Gobble, gobble!” Says the turkey, “Throw your grocery budget out the window! Gobble gobble!”

“Gobble, gobble!” Says the turkey, “Throw your grocery budget out the window! Gobble gobble!”

Part of me wants to join in the gobbling and forget my grocery budget exists because I know that prepping for the holidays is a special circumstance; however, within the deepest depths of my stuffing-loving soul, I know that I can use the same strategies I use at the grocery store all year long to make my dollar go far this Thanksgiving.

Seeing as Thanksgiving is a feast, and a feast entails more food than your average dinner, I thought it was fitting to share my strategies for buying groceries in bulk in order to stay within (or just slightly above as opposed to majorly above) your typical grocery budget this holiday season. Despite the timing of this post, these bulk-buying strategies help me stay within my grocery budget year round while keeping my pantry full, so don’t toss them out with the turkey!

Groceries in Bulk

1. Respect Shelf Life

Before throwing that grocery item in your cart, ask yourself these three questions:

 Can it stay fresh in your fridge or on your kitchen counter for more than one week?

Can you freeze it?

Will it survive on a pantry shelf for an extended period of time?

If you can answer “yes” to any of the three questions above, then give yourself the go-ahead on the bulk grocery purchase you are contemplating. One of the key components of a good bulk purchase is that your items don’t expire before you have a chance to use them (and no this does not mean buying milk in bulk and then drinking 8 glasses of milk a day to “get your money’s worth”). If you buy something that expires before you have a chance to happily consume it, you aren’t getting a good deal—you are wasting money.

My favorite bulk grocery items that can hang tight in the pantry/refrigerator/freezer until I need them: peanut butter, bananas, spinach, frozen stir fry veggies, chicken/vegetable stock, canned veggies, almond milk, bacon, chocolate chips, sugar, marinara sauce, flour, nuts, pastas, and oatmeal.

2. Pace Yourself

You can buy it all but when purchasing in bulk, you cannot buy it all at once. Respect your own grocery budget, and don’t splurge on multiple bulk items if the cost will surpass your set grocery spending.  Would it be nice to buy bacon and canned green beans today—Yes. Is it necessary—No.

3. Avoid Addictive Items

If I love something so much that it will disappear at an abnormal rate (I’m looking at you candy corn), then buying it in bulk is not going to save me any money because once it’s gone and my addiction has been raging forward full speed ahead, you know I’m taking that train right back to the store to buy more.  Most of the things people end up binging on are junk food anyway, so it will help your grocery budget and your overall health to keep them off the bulk list—even if that item meets the previously listed criterion of a good grocery bulk purchase. Just say no, kids…just say no.

4. Consider Versatility

If you open something large, can you use it many different ways before it expires? When buying groceries in bulk, versatility is important—especially if you are not a fan of leftovers.

My favorite versatile bulk grocery items: fresh spinach, beans, plain Greek yogurt, cheese, chicken/veggie stock, canned stewed tomatoes, bacon.

I am really excited to host a small (teeny tiny) group of family for Thanksgiving this year–God bless them 😉 What grocery shopping strategies do you use to stay as close as possible to your grocery budget? Do you buy in bulk to save money?

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 Brittany

Healthy Staples for Less than $25 a Week

On Sunday, I went to grocery store and spent just under $25 on all of this, which is enough to feed my fiance and I for a week. Read on to see how you can spend about between $25 and $50 per week to keep your healthy habits a priority without wasting money.

On Sunday, I went to grocery store and spent just under $25 for all of this, which combined with our stocked staples, is enough to feed my fiance and I for a week. Read on to see how you can spend between $25 and $50 per week to keep your healthy habits a priority without wasting money (or food)

Through trial and error I have learned that there are THREE cardinal rules when it comes to consistently keeping healthy meals on the table without upping your grocery spending.  I am SO happy to share these rules because they also debunk one of the biggest myths out there regarding healthy eating (which also happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves). The next time you hear someone say, “I want to eat healthy, but it’s just too expensive,” you can flick them on the forehead, and then refer them to this website because they are wrong. Sometimes keeping healthy foods in your diet is more time consuming or more laborious—yes, making a smoothie with fresh ingredients is more time consuming than cruising through a drive through and picking one up—but labeling healthy eating as “too expensive” is a farce. Here are three steps you can take to make sure $25 affords you the healthy essentials you need to get through the workweek.

STEP ONE: Know What You Have

Before hitting the store I take inventory of the staples we have in our pantry and refrigerator so I know what we can use as the basic backbones of our meals and if there is any item we need to replace during a particular week. I try to only pick up 1-3 of these items per grocery trip because they are usually pricier.

Backbones

STEP TWO: Know what’s about to go Bad

 Before hitting the store I also take inventory on all fresh produce and leftover meat that needs to be used soon in order to avoid the garbage disposal. I do this for two reasonsFirst, I will either need to buy more, and second, I might need to grab other items from the store to compliment the needs-to-be-consumed-sooner-rather-than-later items that are already sitting in our fridge.

Here is an example of my need-to-use-soon inventory from this past weekend’s grocery trip

Here is an example of my need-to-use-soon inventory from this past weekend’s grocery trip

STEP THREE: Create a Specific List of what you Need to Buy and a Rough Weekly Meal Plan

Once I know what basic backbone foods we have and what food items are about to go bad or have completely vanished from our refrigerator since our last trip to the store, I sit down and simultaneously create a ROUGH meal plan and grocery list for the week. I say “rough” because we never exactly stick to it, but it does help us save money by wisely using leftovers to create different meals that don’t leave my fiance completely bored and begging for “something different”. For example, if we have grilled chicken and baked potatoes on Monday, it makes perfect sense to shred the leftover chicken to make some delicious oven fajitas on Tuesday.

A sample of how we take our meals day by day to get the most out of our budget and our grocery items.

A sample of how we take our meals day by day to get the most out of our budget and our grocery items.

Based on the two lists from Step 1 and Step 2 and the food items I purchased for less than $25 (pictured at the very top of the post), I created the above meal plan above to get us through the work week! Easy as 1-2-3 and less expensive than one night of ordering pizza and garlic bread :)

Healthy eating myth debunked!!

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 Brittany