This weekend, I need to do some major grocery shopping. Not just a few things or some fill-in shopping. No, like the kind of grocery shopping that requires multiple stores and all weekend to accomplish! I’ll be honest with you guys, I’ve been flat broke the last couple of weeks and trying SO very hard to just eat what’s in my freezer and pantry instead of using my credit card for anything. I’m working towards debt-free living and I don’t want to get into the habit of relying on a credit card when I’ve not been a wise steward of my finances. On top of that, I know I’ve got a tax payment that I’ll need to make. 2017 was the first year that I 1) worked full-time the entire year and 2) wasn’t a student for any of it. Thus, I didn’t get a single tax break and more than doubled my income over 2016 so I fell into a different tax bracket. I’ve never owed the IRS before. Usually, they owe ME hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Not this year. Sigh, sad day.
So, I’m going to keep tight control over my grocery spending. Besides entertainment (i.e. eating out, movie tickets), this is one of the few areas that I can flex a bit in my budget. I’m focused on spending less than $200 this month on groceries. I’ve already spent $58 at the beginning of the month so I’ve got $142 to restock with. That’s not too bad. But I need everything from almond milk to toilet paper so I still need to be wise (and maybe throw in a coupon or two!).
How do I plan out my shopping trips? Well, let me show you! I use grocery apps a lot. Sprouts (a health food store here in Colorado) just updated their grocery app and I love it! It now lets me add things from not only their circular ads but around the store too and gives me a total of what my groceries would be ahead of time. King Soopers and Safeway, PLEASE add this! It’s so incredibly helpful! All three major grocery chains in my area also have coupons I can add to my app. It’s awesome. I’ve written out what I’m needing at each store and I include a price if I know it ahead of time. Here’s what it looks like:
So here’s a few tips that I use to stay on budget.
- When I walk into a store, I open their app and my calculator on my phone. A calculator helps me stay within my allotment for that store. So, for example, I know Sprouts should be around $50 this trip and using a calculator helps keep me at that total.
- I use Favado if I need something that I don’t see on sale in the major grocery ads. This is an app that pulls from all the major grocery stores in my city and will tell me where the cheapest price is for that item that week. It will also let me know if there’s a coupon somewhere I can pull. It’s FREE and awesome. I highly recommend downloading it on your phone or tablet.
- I plan my meals for the week around what’s on sale. So, this week, beef roasts are on sale at Sprouts, ground beef is on sale at Safeway, and chicken breasts are on sale at King Soopers. I’ll plan recipes around these three meats.
So there you go. That’s what my grocery shopping looks like. I normally only do major shopping once a month and then do smaller trips when needed to replenish perishables like almond milk, eggs, and fresh vegetables. This seems to work for me! My 3-month average on grocery shopping has been about $220, which I think is pretty good considering that includes holiday baking and treats in November and December! Granted, that’s just for one person, but it’s definitely possible to eat clean on a tight budget!
Do you have any great tips for clean or Paleo eating on a strict budget?