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Grocery shopping on a budget

Looking for ways to save money can be a challenge. Why not start by grocery shopping on a budget? Start by creating a budget, thinking about cheap grocery options, and planning your menu. You would be surprised by how much money you can save!

Pro tip: Use Numerica’s Online Banking to set up your Budget Manager.

Eat well using these tips to save money on your food bill.

When you think about a food budget, your mind immediately jumps to Top Ramen or coupon clipping. However, you don’t have to eat like a college student to stay on budget.

Go hearty, not cheap

Focus on hearty foods that will stay good in your kitchen and benefit you in the end. Eating cheap food can cost you more in medical bills down the road.

Shop for these staple items:

  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Fresh fruit (freeze what you need to!)
  • Rice
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna

Create a menu

Thinking about how you can spend less on groceries? Meal planning is a great way to make sure you buy what you need and reduce food waste.

Plan ahead

Not having a plan usually leads to eating out and spending too much money. Look at your week’s activities. There might be some late nights or running back and forth to a kid’s sport. Keep it all in mind, and try to plan accordingly. On a night you are getting home late, it may not work to whip up a meal from scratch, but maybe a grilled protein and salad would do the trick.

Don’t forget the snacks

Hanger is real. Plan for some snacks that are easy to grab on the go. Almonds, cheese, or just a piece of fruit are all great and healthy options. Having these items on hand can help prevent quick stops at the drive-thru in those “I need to eat NOW” moments.

Re-use ingredients

In meal planning, the most important thing you can do is be realistic. Life is in constant motion. Don’t stress about dinner time. Look at your menu. If you are planning to make tacos one night, cook all the ground beef and use part of it for the tacos and then maybe another night for spaghetti. This means dinner can make it onto the table even quicker on that second night.

Leftovers for lunch

It may not be the immediate next day, but having an extra portion of dinner for lunch is a great time saver. Plus, having a meal with you is a great deterrent to eating out for lunch. While you’re at it, you might as well pop over those savings to your Bonus Saver account. Cha-ching!

Pro tip: Eating leftovers is great for your bank and a time saver!

Make a list. Check it twice.

Menu planning makes creating a grocery list a snap. Double-check your pantry to make sure you have everything you need when it comes to prepping your meal.

Pro tip: Making a list also cuts down on the time you have to spend shopping.

Know how much is too much

Make sure you aren’t overspending for your family size. A good place to start for a food budget is 9.5 percent of your disposable income. You should add dining out into your food budget, too!

If that doesn’t work for your family, test out different food budgets each month and decide what fits your needs.

Meal prep

Make it a family affair. Washing, chopping, and organizing your produce can be a great chore for helpers. Being able to have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less is a huge relief at the end of the day. It also is a big deciding factor before splurging to go out and eat. By the time you get seated, order, and get your meal, it’s about the same amount of time.

Skip the prepacked items

Packaged food, by nature, is designed to be convenient and easy to grab on the go. You get charged for that convenience. Buying a head of lettuce and chopping it or a block of cheese and shredding it yourself is an easy way to shave money off your food budget.

Shop bulk

Bulk items aren’t just for baking supplies. Rice, beans, pasta, nuts, and even oatmeal are often cheaper in the bulk section versus pre-packaged.

Embrace the season – then freeze for later

Take advantage of our amazing community and the bounty of produce we have. From picking apples in the orchard to corn at the farmers market, buy some to enjoy now and some to freeze for later. It takes a bit of time to properly store and freeze the item, but when you pull out those peaches for a cobbler in the fall, you will be thankful.

Check the unit price

Buying the largest box on the shelf or the store brand aren’t always surefire methods to saving money. Compare the unit price. This is often listed on the price tag. You can figure out the unit price by dividing the price of the item by the number of ounces or another unit of measurement.

These are just some ways you can save money on your food budget. Don’t miss out on these other great savings ideas!

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March 2, 2024