Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reigning in the Budget, part 2

I don't know if this is apparent from my writing, but I am a planner. I love my to-do lists, shopping lists, my training plans, my google calendar. Actually, my iPhone has been a gift from God with regards to planning, I have a whole page of apps dedicated to organization.

Naturally, I had to make a plan to hone in my grocery bills. I've decided on a couple of things to do to get our cost of groceries a bit more under control:

  • Plan weekly meals. I've tried this once or twice and it really helps to make a shopping list that only has what I'm going to need for meals for the week and stick to it. It's not always easy for me to plan all the meals for the week, but if I get into a bit of a routine, every Sunday for instance, it will be easier to do. I usually pick 3-4 meals that I want to make, which will last as dinners and lunches.

  • Make instead of buy. I've already talked about how I make my own yogurt, bread and kombucha. The next step is beer. My goal is not to actually buy any alcohol (unless it's a special occasion). This is my way of eliminating a bit of frivolous spending, and it actually is going to apply to all expenses, not just groceries.

  • Stay out of the grocery store. I know this isn't going to happen entirely, but it's summertime in Ohio and that means a whole bunch of farmer's markets and growing our own veggies. So this should help me stay out of the grocery store as much as I can, even if that sometimes means paying a bit more (for things like the best hot sauce ever) I'm happy to be supporting local entrepreneurs rather than big box grocery stores. I won't be able to avoid the stores entirely though...

  • Stick to low cost grocery stores. Have you ever heard of Aldi? or Marc's? They are pretty no-frills, low cost places that I can get a few essentials. In my last Reigning in the Budget post, Kristian commented on how we shop at Whole Foods and said "you may have to take in some pesticides". Agreed. I'm not convinced that, outside of fruits/veggies and dairy products, buying organic has much worth anyway. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Alright, I've put a couple of these things into action this week. Keep a look out for some before and after comparisons, we'll see how much these baby steps will work!

What do you do to keep your grocery bills in line? Do you have a specific amount budgeted for groceries? 

Did you miss my last budgeting post? Check it out:
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