Guest post by Johnlyn
Many people assume I use coupons to keep our grocery budget low. They tell me that they can’t have a low grocery budget because they just don’t have the time or energy to clip coupons.
At the beginning of 2010, my grocery budget was $260.00 per month for our family of four. My husband is a marathon runner with a high metabolism and my kids were 13 and 11 at the time and they both continue to eat more than I do.
Small Town Living
When you live in a small town, you do not receive the same coupon inserts in the newspaper as you do when you receive a large city newspaper.
Here are the coupons I received in last weekend’s newspaper insert: Zicam, Lysteda, Pillsbury Sweet Rolls, Betty Crocker Warm Delights, Red Baron Pizza, Chuck E Cheese, Weight Watchers Yogurt, Foot Pain Wraps and Wrist Supports and Direct T.V. I won’t use any of those!
Five Tips to Keep Your Food Budget Low Without Coupons
- Change your attitude. Be thankful that you can afford to buy ground beef even though you really want the shrimp!
- Take cash to the store. This changed my mindset completely. Even though I always paid off my credit card bill every month, I became much more aware of how much money that I was spending when I changed to a cash envelope system.
- Determine the lowest amount of money you need to spend in order to feed your family. For a few weeks, make low cost meals and buy only what you need at the grocery store for those meals. Don’t buy items just because they are on sale and avoid buying junk food.
- Find substitutes. For example, I’ve bought cabbage instead of bok choy because it was much cheaper and worked for the meal I was making
- Menu plan using your pantry. Make a simple menu plan after looking in your pantry, fridge and freezer.
Voting With My Dollars
I’ve decided to increase our food budget to $400.00 per month. The $140.00 increase is for several reasons:
- After watching the movie Food, Inc. I decided to support our local farmers and ranchers when possible. I’ve found that the quality and peace of mind more than offset the increase to our budget.
- There is a store here in our town where the prices are wrong quite frequently. After several customer service issues, I’ve decided to support the small grocery store with excellent customer service.
- When my budget was $260.00 per month we focused on breads and pastas to “fill us up”. Three members of our family had horrible hypoglycemic issues while eating this way. We now we focus on veggies, meat, healthy fats and fruit.
Johnlyn has been a full time homemaker for the past nine years. She is the owner of Hummingbird Homemaking: Working the Home to Save Time and Money.