Love it or hate, we all need to go grocery shopping. If you fall into the second category, not having a lot of money can make shopping even more unpleasant. Shopping on a tight budget can be stressful, but with a little forethought and meal planning, you may actually save some money.
Buy Nonperishables in Bulk
Nonperishables, like rice, beans and pasta, should be bought in bulk. All three have a long shelf life and can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can either buy in bulk at a wholesale warehouse or look for deals at your local grocery store. You should also check weekly flyers for coupons and deals where you can buy one, get one free. If you do, just be sure you’re not buying so much that it goes to waste. Even though nonperishables last longer, the integrity may be compromised if left too long. This is especially true when it comes to flour and other baking products.
Only Purchase What You Eat
When food goes on sale, it’s tempting to buy extra. Unfortunately, if you end up throwing it out because it spoiled, you’re not really saving money. In fact, you’re losing money on top of being on a tight food budget. You should only buy perishable food, like fresh fruit and vegetables, in quantities you know won’t go to waste. You should also buy seasonal fruits and veggies, which are usually on sale. In the summer, berries, corn and green beans are typically cost less. In the fall and winter, squash, sweet potatoes and leafy greens are your best bet.
Become an Educated Shopper
When you have a small food budget, you need to save every penny. So, in addition to clipping coupons and meal prepping, you also need to find ways to cut corners. For instance, you might think paying five dollars for a bag chips are not big deal, and for someone who has more money to spend, it’s usually not. However, if you spend five dollars a week on junk food, that end up being $20.00 at the end of month. At the end of one year, you’ll have spent $240.00 with nothing to show for it expect a few extra pounds. You can put that money to better use by paying down other debt, like student loans. You can also refinance your existing loans into a new loan to give your budget a buffer. The repayments terms can lower your monthly payment and free up more money for your food budget.
Avoid Pre-Made Meals
While it’s okay to grab a pre-made meal here and there, you definitely don’t want to make it a habit. The cost is usually triple of what it is if you prepare the same meal at home. In addition, the quality isn’t always what you expected either. Choose a day when you can shop and food prep at the same time. You can then divide the meals into individual storage containers in the fridge or freezer.