Buying food these days can really be a pain.  Its important to be smart with your spendings so you aren’t investing a whole paycheck just to groceries. The tricky part is spending wisely without sacrificing certain necessities. By following these 15 steps , you can surely put yourself on the right track to eating good on a budget.

1. Avoid Impulse Buys

What I mean by this is when you go into the store to buy your groceries, stay focused on only what you need, rather than at what looks enticing. It’s really easy to go into a store for a gallon of milk, and come out with $30 dollars worth of junk food that you really don’t need, but you got just because it looked yummy.

2. Shop With Your Blinders On

It can be pretty distracting when shopping for food.  You should always avoid buying something you question yourself on if it might get used, or not. If you go into the grocery store with the intention of buying milk, bread, and eggs go straight for those items, and then check out.

3. Stock Up On Frozen Goods

This is also a good idea for canned goods and other dry goods.  What we do in my house is buy these items in bulk when they are cheaper, and in the long run are saving money when the price goes up. Since they have a long stock life, you only have to worry about perishable items more often.

4. Pack Your Lunches

This is the one that always gets people. These days, it’s just easier to stop at a fast food joint, or eat at a vending machine, rather than packing a lunch. The downfall of doing that is you are sacrificing not only your health, but you are overspending on food that’s not worth it. You can spend $5 on a burger and fries, or you can spend half of that on a packed lunch, and get more food out of it.

5. Use Your Leftovers

Now I don’t know about you, but almost every time we cook dinner in my home there are always leftovers when we are done eating.  A good way to cut back on food waste, and save yourself some money is to simply use these leftovers.  If you are like me, I like to take these leftovers as my packed lunch for work.  This kills two birds with one stone.

6. Share Meals at Restaurants

This is one step I wish I would have known about sooner.  By sharing meals when you go out to eat, you can save yourself a good chunk of money, and still enjoy going out to eat.  If you think about it, there is almost always a lot of extra food leftover at the end of your meals anyways, so why not pick out something that you and somebody else both like, and split it?

7. Use a Grocery App

Using a grocery app can be really useful in your quest to save money.  You can use it to check out the stores deals while you are there, check out exclusive offers (if you are a member), and it can even help you keep track of what you are buying, and or spending.

8. Create a Shared Family Shopping List

If you are a fast-paced, always on the go family, then this would be really useful for you.  By keeping a cooperative shopping list in the house, everybody can contribute to it, making it easier for who ever does the shopping.  Another benefit to this is it helps reduce the spending on groceries that are unneeded, and that will generally just go to waste.  If everybody can contribute to it as needed, you will have the potential to save some cash.

9. Set Weekly Limits

This is probably one of the most simple concepts, but the hardest to grasp, but it is possible!  By setting a weekly spending limit, you can easily keep track of your spending.

10. Shop Off-Brand

There is no shame in shopping off brand, or store brand items.  They are usually always cheaper than the big name brand items, and usually you cannot tell the difference between the two.

11. Shop The Sales

Always check your local newspaper for sales.  You can always catch good deals when shopping this way, so why not take advantage of it? Also, by doing this you can plan ahead on what grocery store you go to, based on the best deals, saving yourself money.

12. Become a Coupon-er

We’ve all heard of those extreme couponing people on T.V., the people who go so far out of their way clipping coupons, just to save money.  Why not become one of these people?  Maybe you don’t have to go extreme like the people on t.v., but clipping coupons can be a great way to save money on your groceries.

13. Become a Member

A lot of stores have free little memberships, where all you have to do is pick up a rewards card, sign up via email, and begin saving.  You can be included on exclusive savings, and coupons, and some stores will give you rewards points towards stuff.  These rewards can save you money on groceries, and even at certain places you can earn money off of gas.

14. Eat off the Value Menu

Another way to save money while eating out is to eat off of the value menu.  You can get enough food to fill you up for just a fraction of the cost by eating out this way.  This way you can still enjoy eating out, but you don’t have to pay full price to do so.

15. Set A Limit

One of the best budgeting tips is to take the amount of money you have each month to spend on food and take it out in cash. Then divide the cash into four envelopes, marked with the weeks (week #1, week #2, etc.). Only use one envelope each week and only spend what’s in the envelope.

Spending money on food can be more stressful than it should be, so why not try to make it a little less of a headache than it has to be?  I hope these tips I came up with can help you, as much as they have helped me.

Featured photo credit: Money/401kcalculator.org via flickr.com

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