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One of my favorite things to do is share my grocery hauls on my Instagram account. It is my goal to spend under $100 a week on groceries. There are a lot of people who ask me, “how in the world do you do it?!” I am excited to share with you my tips and tricks on how I am able to keep my grocery budget at $100 or less each week.
Let me be the first to tell you that ANYONE is able to achieve this goal. Yup! No matter where you shop for groceries! For years I only shopped at Whole Foods Market, and was able to maintain my $100 or less goal. Lately, I have been shopping at Sprouts Market and I am still able to stick to my budget. Yes, prices are different depending on where you shop, where you live, etc. but with planning, it is totally achievable.
Here are my 5 favorite tips to help you spend under $100 a week on groceries:
#1 Make your grocery list and STICK to it
I cannot tell you how many times I have gone off my grocery list. We all do it! Going off my list has led to tons of unnecessary spending. Going to the grocery store is one of my favorite things to do (please let me I am not the only one). They are always adding new products to their shelves. New fruits and veggies are always popping up as the seasons change, so it’s easy to get carried away.
I made this tip number one on my list because it is the easiest to do. Lately the days I go grocery shopping have been super random with my current schedule. So each week I look at my calendar and plan out which day is going to be shopping day. When that’s been determined, I look through my fridge, pantry and freezer and make a quick list of what essential items are missing.
The weekly items are typically bread, cold cuts, fruits and snacks. Everything else just depends on when it is needed, such as meat, grains, spices, oils, and other frozen items.
#2 Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry
Okay, I know this one might sound kind of silly, but you know exactly what I am talking about! Going to the grocery store when you’re hungry is such a trigger. Picture this, you are at the grocery store, you’re HUNGRY, and you are walking up and down the aisles seeing all the delicious stuff that they have. There are been numerous times where boxes of goodies and bags of stuff make their way into my cart.
This is also a great tip if you are working on eating healthier. When you are shopping hungry, you are more likely to buy something you are trying to avoid. Everything looks delicious when all you can think about is eating something. I understand that this probably doesn’t apply to everyone, of course, but just something to keep in mind.
#3 Go shopping alone (if you can)
I have a husband who loves to add things to the cart whenever we go grocery shopping together. I also have a four year old growing boy who loves to pick things off the shelves whenever he comes with me.
Of course there are times that I have to bring my kiddo with me, and when that happens I do my best to stick to the list. Or I will plan ahead and ask my son what he would like from the store and add it to the list ahead of time to try to avoid spontaneous add-ons.
If your kiddos go to school, try to plan your shopping trips after drop-off. If you have little ones that aren’t in school yet, but are old enough to make requests, try to plan ahead or let them pick one item while shopping. Something else I like to do when my son comes with me at the store, is I have him help me find items on the grocery list. This keep him entertained and distracted!
#4 Meal plan and make your shopping list ahead of time
Knowing what you are making ahead of time is going to make budgeting a lot easier for you. I am the type of person that like to “wing it” when it comes to life. For as long as I can remember I have done things as they come, and that included cooking and grocery shopping. I’d go to the store with nothing but ideas in my head and I would just “figure it out” in the moment.
Let me tell you that it didn’t always pan out the way I hoped. I ended up spending way too much time inside the grocery store, thinking about what in the world I was going to make, and I also ended up spending way too much money. Without having a solid meal plan and grocery list, you are setting yourself up for unplanned spending.
Check out these awesome posts related to meal prepping and pantry must-haves:
#5 Take cash with you to avoid accidentally over spending
This is a trick that I need to go with every now and then. There is no better way to ensure that you stick to your budget than paying with cash! Back when I moved out of my parents house, and lived with roommates, this was the way to do it. Honestly, it makes it so easy to stay on track.
I know how hard it is to stick to a budget when you are paying with a card. If you are under, awesome! but if you are over, you easily pay the difference and go about your day. If you only have cash with you, you will be forced to review everything you are taking home and might need to make some revisions in the spot.
Sticking To Your Budget
I would like to make a quick disclaimer that I am not ALWAYS able to keep my budget at or under $100. But I will say that I am able to do it most of the time. There comes a time each month that requires us to re-stock on a lot of essentials, which will bring that budget up over the $100 goal. With that said, once we are fully stocked on the essentials, it makes it very easy to stick to the budget.
Flexing the budget muscle takes time and practice. Just like with anything else, it might take a few times before one is able to reach that magic number. I wasn’t able to stick to under $100 a week on groceries right off the bat. It definitely took some time, trial and error, before I got the hang of things.
At the end of the day, I want you to know that it’s okay to go over every now and then. It’s going to happen, you are going to need to re-stock on certain items that will require you to go over your budget. It also takes practice and eventually it gets easier sticking to your budget.
I’ve reached the point where I know what will keep my budget at the $100 mark, what will make it go under and what will absolutely make it go over. As you set your routine and you get into the habit of going to the store weekly, planning ahead, making your list, etc. you will find that spending under $100 a week on groceries isn’t as impossible at it may seem!
Also know that every family is going to have a different needs, and $100 may not be realistic for certain peoples lifestyles. But these tips can be applied to any budget. Know that if you are wanting to spend a certain amount each week, it’s absolutely possible! Let me know in the comments below if these suggestions have worked for you, or if you have any other tricks that help you stay on budget!