I have read lots of posts about how to save money on groceries and they usually suck. I don't coupon and I don't buy in bulk. We eat organic due to our allergies and gut issues, and I have to be dairy and gluten free. But saving money is still possible. Here are my tips.
- Give up snacks
Adults don't need snacks. Unless you have a health issue that requires eating more than 3 times a day, snacks are unnecessary. I save around $100 a month by giving up snacks between meals. My blood sugar also regulates better without snacks, as the “fasting” period between meals helps keep my numbers normal. My toddler still eats snacks and I either serve him what he didn't finish for lunch, or a banana.
- Give up desserts
You knew that was the next point, didn't you? We have not fully given up desserts, but I make about one dessert a week from scratch to keep costs as low as possible. If my flesh wasn't so weak, I would give it up completely, but sometimes a girl just needs chocolate brownies after dinner.
- Eat the same thing
This helps me keep it simple. Not only do I waste less food when I eat the same meal for lunch every day of the week but it also reduces my stress considerably. I eat a salad, a piece of fruit and a type of sandwich for lunch almost every day. This ensures we use all the salad and all the veggies, as I just top the salad with whatever veggies we have on hand.
- Eat vegan
I am not vegan, but it is a universal truth that meat is expensive. We eat meat for dinners and that helps us save the cost of meat for breakfast and lunch. Like I said above, I eat a salad for lunch almost every day. I usually put avocado, tomato, bell pepper, sauerkraut, toasted hemp seeds, onion, and carrot on my salad. We are %100 dairy free, and I do red wine vinegar usually for a dressing, or some dairy free ranch or caesar dressing. For a sandwich, I alternate PBJ or hummus, or (vegan) cheese toasties if I am feeling extravagant. Fruit is whatever is on sale at the grocery store that week. If I am super hungry I just make my salad bigger. Breakfast we do bagels with vegan cream cheese and fruit or oatmeal with fruit, or something from my favorite cookbook, Nourishing Meals. Sometimes we do have bacon and sausage on the weekends, but really only when daddy is around to hold Rebekah so I can man (or woman) the stove.
We also don't go out to eat anymore, maybe once a month. Eating out is super expensive and I can make better food at home. I save all my toddlers leftovers and either eat it myself or feed it to him the next time he is hungry. We shop at Aldi every week and only go to Kroger once a month. Being dairy and gluten free we need certain things at Krogers like brown rice flour and teff flour and coconut milk that they just don't have at Aldi. Buying them monthly helps me not overspend. If we run out before the next shopping trip comes up, I make do until the next month rolls around. I either make whatever I planned without said ingredient or make a substitution, or change what I am making by looking at things I have on hand.
We took our grocery budget from over 1,000 dollars a month to 500-600 a month for a family of four, eating mostly organic foods and always dairy and gluten free. We spend anywhere from 50-100 a week at Aldi and 200-300 a month at Kroger.