So, I have to say I’m on a #debtfreejourney right now. I’m really determined to pay all of my debt off quickly!
I’ve always been good about paying all of my bills on time, but I’ve recently taken a much deeper dive into my finances and thinking about my financial future.
This can be a scary, intimidating journey for anyone who’s just starting out.
So, I wanted to share my ideas and what has helped me be successful during the beginning of my journey to being debt free!
The first thing I worked on was my grocery spending.
I think we all have thoughts about how to save money on groceries – I mean, we all enjoy saving money, right? And we all have to buy groceries. Unless you eat out every meal. And in the case, you’re probably not too worried about saving money, huh?
Another thing I’ve been thinking lately is how much food I waste. How many times have you eaten dinner, saved a ton of leftovers and then… never touched them again? Guilty.
Or better yet, you buy a bunch of stuff that ends up going bad before you even have a chance to eat it.
I’ve found a few easy ways to implement a better grocery budget which has made saving money and wasting less food a much easier task.
Keep reading to find out what I’ve been implementing and links to my free grocery inventory sheet!
1. Take weekly inventory.
Make sure you know what is already in your pantry, fridge, and freezer at all times. This can seem daunting at first, but once you get the first inventory done, (which literally takes like 10 minutes) it’s really easy from there to just add and delete things when you buy them or use them up.
The way I started my inventory was by writing everything down in a notebook. I then transferred it to a Google Sheet to have on my phone and computer! And I’m sharing it with you!
This sheet is sooo simple to use, and it literally changed my grocery and meal planning game instantly!
2. Meal plan around food you already have.
Once you’ve taken your inventory, you’ve gotten the hardest part out of the way! You go girl!
Now, you can think about the following questions:
- What needs to get eaten before it goes bad?
- What can I make with the ingredients I already have on hand?
- What do I need to buy in order to use the ingredients I already have to make a meal?
Once you answer these questions, you can use the “Grocery List” column on your Kitchen Inventory Google Sheet to plan what you want to make.
This makes creating a meal plan so much more feasible.
3. Create a grocery budget depending on your paychecks.
I get paid weekly, so I make a weekly grocery budget. If you are following tip 1 and 2, you should be able to create an accurate, cheap grocery budget.
Start off with looking at your bank statements to see how much money you normally spend on groceries.
Then, think about tips 1 & 2 to guesstimate how much your grocery budget should be. Mine is $75/week. I’m determined to make it $50 soon though!
Once you’ve decided on a number, take a look at your grocery list you entered on your Kitchen Inventory sheet. See if this amount is feasible.
If the grocery budget amount you’ve given yourself looks like a good number – you’re ready to go shopping! Congrats!
If your budget number looks too small, you could add a little more to it, or you could take some things that aren’t necessities off your grocery list.
Play around with your budget and list & go easy on yourself if it’s not perfect at first. This takes time!
4. Don’t be afraid to eat the same thing more than once a week.
I HATE leftovers. But I also hate having debt, which I’m sure you do too.
The trick I’ve found here is to make things that heat up pretty well.
This for me is like crockpot chicken, ground turkey meat, and pasta.
I have been able to change my mindset about leftovers just by remembering that I am doing it for a bigger reason.
Which leads us into our next point…
5. Remember your why.
As cliche as it sounds, remembering and reminding yourself why you want to save money and why you want to limit the amount you spend on groceries is one of the best things you can do to make this change easier.
Your reason for spending less on groceries could be so many things.
“I want to eat at home – less eating out will help me stick to healthier meals.”
“I need to pay off my car, and I know I can do it if I cut back on how much money I spend on food.”
“I spend so much money eating out that it’s affecting my bills and adding to my debt.”
There is a reason you want to save money on grocery spending. Think about it. Write it down. Remember it.
6. Meal prep at least 2 meals at the beginning of every week.
The idea of meal prepping always makes me think of those body building dudes who prep all of their meals on Sunday, and all their food consists of is chicken breast, rice and broccoli.
If that’s what you wanna do, go ahead, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. We are taking it to a very easy level so you can have something to eat when you need a quick meal to avoid getting fast food.
This can be something as simple as having sides ready in the fridge like beans and rice or salads prepped.
When I “meal prep” I basically just mean I put my leftover crockpot meals in containers and take them to work for lunch.
If you don’t have a crockpot, you must not be a grandma like me. Just kidding. But really, you should be using a crockpot to make simple, quick, cheap meals!
You can find crockpots for less than $25, and I’ve even seen used ones in thrift stores. Score!
Some of my fave already-prepped foods from the crockpot are:
- Chicken with vegetables
- Turkey taco meat (see my turkey taco recipe vid here!)
Make a list of your favorite foods and figure out easy, cheap ways to make them for your meal prep! Super easy and stress-free!
7. Have microwavable meals on hand for those days when you don’t have anything prepped.
No one really loves those microwavable meals you buy in the frozen section at the grocery store, (ok, hold up. that lean cuisine vermont cheddar mac n cheese is bangin) but they can come in handy and help you avoid eating out.
Quick and easy microwaveable meals can help you stay on track with your budget, and they save you time on busy days!
Buy what’s on sale that week, maybe 1-3 meals, and eat them when you don’t have meals prepped or don’t feel like eating leftovers.
8. Treat yourself with the leftover grocery money.
Reward yourself for all your hard work by using your unspent grocery budget money on something just for you!
If you’d like, when you stay under your grocery budget, treat yourself with a restaurant meal or even something non-food related.
You could even save up the grocery money you don’t spend over a month or two and buy yourself something bigger that you really want. Yay shopping spree!
I like keeping a list on my phone of random things I think about that I want to buy. If you do this, go to your list and see what you can afford with your leftover cash.
Or if you’re totally devoted to saving money or paying off debt (which is amazing – yes please – this is me right now), use the money you don’t spend on groceries to pay off extra debt that week.
Even cutting $10/week from your grocery budget could save you over $500/year.
And just like that, you’re one step closer to where you wanna be!
I truly hope these grocery budgeting ideas have helped you see that it’s really not so hard to spend less on groceries.
My outlook on shopping has totally changed since implementing these tips and especially my Kitchen Inventory Sheet.
Do you have any tips to add to this list?
If so, leave a comment or DM me on Instagram! I would love to hear from you!