I have friends who will not believe me when I tell them I have feed my family of six on fifty dollars a week. They say it just isn’t possible. There were after all two teen age sons there in the mix. I am here to tell you that yes it can be done. It takes dedication, a bit of time, and some very frugal shopping. Here are my ten best tips to get it done.
#1 PLAN I can not stress this one enough. Sit down and plan out your weekly menus. Now when I do this I only do the main dish and one side dish. IE hamburgers and home fries. I will be serving vegetables but this comes in a later tip. When you plan your menu, just your main ideas.
#2 GET OUT THOSE WEDNESDAY ADS While you are planning your menu look at those grocery ads. Notice I didn’t say the Sunday coupons, I said the Wednesday ads. See what is on sale. If chicken is at an unbelievable price plan a few meals around that. Plan around the sales items.
#3 LOOK AT THE ADS WHERE YOU SHOP Unless you are one of those shoppers who can walk into a store and only buy what is on your list, don’t look at ads from other stores you don’t frequent. I am not one of those people. I know if I look at the Walmart ad and see something on sale that I really want I will find ten other things that I don’t need and there goes my budget. They draw you in on low cost items and get you to buy a bunch of junk too.
#4 MAKE YOUR SHOPPING LIST I know this is age old advice but it is because it works. If you have two different stores that you go to, make two different list. Also make a wish list. This is a list of things you would like, but don’t really need. Make a separate list for your paper products also. I don’t include paper towels, napkins and toilet paper in that $50.
#5 FIND A RELAXED TIME TO SHOP This is sometimes the hardest thing. Some of us have to wait until payday to go shopping. This is when everyone goes shopping and it tends to stress me out and I can’t concentrate on cost if I am concentrating on how to get out the door. If you have to go on payday pick a time of day when less people out. Early mornings are great and so is late at night.
#6 SHOP ALONE This kind of goes with #5 but I really thing that it is very important. Kids and spouses always want things that aren’t on your list. They are also attention distracters. Yes you can tell I really feel to meet this challenge you have to be focused. The less distraction the betters.
#7 EAT HEALTHIER I am not talking about shopping down the organic food isle that is terrible expensive, I am talking about avoiding that soda and chip isle. Do you really need that bag of potato chips? Not only are they expensive but they aren’t very diet friendly either.
#8 YOUR FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND That great sale on chicken? Stock up. Have a few pennies extra or get a bigger bag and divide it up and freeze it. Your cupboard is your friend too. Often times it may pay to stock up when you find a good sale.
#9 WHEN YOU GET HOME TAKE CARE OF YOUR FOOD It doesn’t help at all if you get your food home, don’t store it properly and you have to throw it away. Pay attention to those expiration dates, and storage. If it says refrigerate after opening make sure that you do.
#10 STICK TO IT So now you have the menu. You have your stocked kitchen with what you need. You have to actually make what is on your list. I know that things come up and you may not feel like tuna casserole one night, but just switch it with another night instead of calling for Pizza. You may not hit the fifty dollar goal the first week, but you will definitely bring down your grocery bill. If you stick to this you will see rewards. I didn’t even mention coupons. I am just not that organized. There are those people that can bring their grocery bill down by using coupons. The best advice is to find a method that works for you and then stick to it!
This article was written by Judith L. Davis , a WAHM who freelances as a writer and copy editor.