Learning how to live frugally is all about learning how to eliminate waste from your life and make the most of what you have. It is partly about getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to get more out of life, to utilize all your resources better and more efficiently. Like any good thing, it doesn’t come easy. You might find the process challenging, slow or frustrating at times. Just remember what you wanted to achieve when you started and try to have a positive attitude. You are already improving yourself every step of the way and that is what counts.
So let us get started with the specifics of how to live frugally. Food, housing, and clothing are the primary expenses of most households and therefore they are the centre of most ‘how to save money’ tips.
Living a Frugal Lifestyle
There is a good reason for this. These expenses collectively account for a large chunk of our budgets, and at the same time, they are easier to influence than some other expenses like insurance, health and similar. Food in particular is one area where it is relatively easy to introduce changes and save a considerable amount of money. The best way how to start saving money with food is to absolutely eliminate any and all waste of the food you buy. In addition, you can adopt certain habits to help you save even more, such as buying in bulk, buying online, buying certain cheap and healthy ingredients, doing a grocery price comparison to save money on groceries, growing some of your food and picking some of your food for free. That’s how to live cheap and still be able to create a healthy grocery shopping list! If you put all of these strategies at work at the same time, then you could easily lower your food expenses by half and still enjoy healthy ingredients and diverse meals.
Regarding housing and housing expenses, there is no easy way how to start saving money. If you need to considerably lower you expenses, then changing your housing situation can definitely do the trick. However, it is not as easy as good planning or doing more of your shopping online, as in the case of food and clothing. No, lowering your housing expenses significantly can only be done in one of two ways (both of which are relatively inconvenient): either you get a roommate or you move to a cheaper place. It’s a good idea to look into both possibilities and see which one suits you more financially.
Buying groceries is a huge area where most people are spending too much money. I used to be one of the people who would just go into the store, fill up my cart as quickly as possible, pay and then rush home. This approach will have you spending too much and wasting half of what you buy. Before you go to any store again, look in all of your cabinets, your pantry, your storage shelves and your fridge. Get rid of anything that is past its date and make a list of everything that you are throwing out so that you can examine it later. Organize while you do this, all canned items together, all items in jars together, dried items (pasta, rice, flour, etc.) together and clean out your freezer(s). Know what is in your house and if it is not likely that you will cook and eat it, get rid of it. Again, making sure to write it down on the list of things you will be looking at later. Looking at the list of things you threw away, will ensure that you do not make the same mistakes again when it comes to food.
Once you know what you have in the house, think about ways to use what is there by looking up recipies online. If you are missing items for the recipies, write those down on a shopping list. You might find that the majority of the fresh items and staples can be used in several recipies throughout a week. Try to get a list together for items you will be cooking for an entire week and think in terms of “three meals per day” and remember to buy some fresh “snacks”.
Once you have your shopping list, check out the local ads for the stores that are directly in the areas where you live or work. You can save money buy figuring out which stores have the best prices on produce, meats, drinks and staples. I typically shop every few days and I never go without my list. It took me time to figure out which store had the best quality of produce for the money, where to buy quality meats and which store has the largest selection of staples for the kitchen and which store has better house staples, i.e.; toilet paper, paper products, soaps, detergents, shampoos, etc. I suggest making a trip to one store for everything you need first and later, checking out all of the other stores when you have time and trying out their groceries that are on sale if you need it later. That way, you will have the luxury of time to get informed. Remember, while shopping, to look at the price of what you want to buy, then check and see if there is a store brand for the same item and see if the sale price is cheaper than the store brand. If it is not, try the store brand. Where I live, many store brands items are much cheaper than the normal brands and taste either the same or better.
After you return from the store, put everything away in an organized manner. Have your recipies for the week somewhere handy in the kitchen. Cook! Cooking saves you lots of money. We all have to eat, if you buy microwave items or prepackaged items you are spending more money for things that are less healthy even though they might save you some time. I suggest you cook for yourself (and your family if you have one) try to make sure you have leftovers for your lunch the next day. Take some fresh fruit or carrot sticks for a snack, make sure whatever you take is something you like and take drinks from your home. Either something you make, like tea or coffee or something else you like that you purchased at the store. If you have to buy it from work or somewhere else, it will cost more.
Keep track throughout your week of all of the times you saved money by eating or drinking what you prepared at home instead of going out to eat and I am sure you will be amazed at just how much money you actually saved. Take the money you saved and put it aside, repeat this entire grocery process every single week and after a month you should start seeing just how much you will be able to put aside with this savings aspect alone.
The grocery/cooking area of our lives are merely a drop in the financial bucket of ideas on how to save money. Other suggestions are to look into selling of some of your things you no longer use or need and at the same time, to make space for a new roommate or to have fewer things to move to your new cheaper home or apartment. People have a habit of holding on to unnecessary things that they might need at some point in the future or that they feel some kind of attachment to. However, cleaning out your space can be a very rewarding experience both in terms of free space and in terms of letting go of unnecessary burdens. You can either sell or donate your things, or do both, and you will end up with some extra cash in your pocket and the knowledge that you did something beneficial on multiple levels. Also, if you are itemizing on your tax returns, your donations can become a dandy writeoff.
When it comes to entertainment and culture, a lot of people think that they will definitely have to give up one aspect of it on their frugal lifestyle – traveling and exploring new places. However, this is not necessarily true. There are two basic ways to do traveling on the cheap – backpacking and cheap RV living. Out of these, RV traveling is probably cheaper, because you can cook and you don’t have to eat out all the time – even fast food prices add up over time. Traveling with an RV is also more comfortable – you always have a roof over your head and a comfortable bed. The monthly expense for cheap RV living can be from $250 to $700 depending upon the size of the RV and your rental contract. This expense becomes really affordable if in the meantime you are renting out your house or apartment to tenants or if you share this fixed cost with a couple of traveling companions.
When you are transitioning into a new, more frugal lifestyle, it would probably help you a lot if you joined a community of people who are already doing it! There are a ton of online communities out there that talk about all the aspects of how to live on a budget. Whether you are interested in free cultural and entertainment events, or some easy and healthy recipes, or savings tips regarding banking and insurance, or even how to grow your own food, there are a lot of blogs and forums where people like you are discussing precisely these topics. So if you are looking to start your own
garden, but you have no idea where to start, head online and get all the advice you need for free, along with some encouragement and support as well. You might be surprised to find out how many people are talking about ‘how to save money’ tips. Share with them what you’ve learned so far and gather some fresh ideas that would fit into your lifestyle.
Learning how to live frugally can be a very fun and rewarding process if that is your attitude going in. It can inspire you to simplify your life, eliminate waste, and get back in touch with nature. If or when you find yourself in a situation to have to significantly cut back on spending, don’t despair. Remember that you can still enjoy a great quality of life if you adjust your habits accordingly. Hopefully, your takeaway from all of this will be that financial difficulties are bound to occur to most people sooner or later, and certainly it’s not the end of the world. In fact, many people start living frugally not because of financial struggles but because they simply want to increase their efficiency for a more sustainable way of life. So look at this process a learning experience. While you are learning how to live on a budget, joining a community will help make your transition smoother and easier. It always helps to hear the advice of someone who has already gone through what you’re going through. And you will probably end up making new friends along the way.
Many people who follow us already know the basics of how to live frugally. BudgetPronto is here to show you ways to increase your frugalness and save even more money. Being frugal is a lifestyle. It must extend to every corner of your life, even your meals. That’s why I am going to show you ways to create an inexpensive meal plan.
Bulk. You hear that word everywhere when it comes to creating meals on a budget for large families or even putting together a frugal meal-for-one. Bulk is the framework of cheap cooking. Without buying in bulk, every time that you go to the supermarket, you are just spending money that didn’t need to be spent.
Foods to buy in bulk:
Dried beans, pastas, and rice.
Snack foods and popcorn
Meat and chicken
When you buy in bulk, you can easily cook cheap dinners for your family. We have posted before about buying in bulk, search around to find more information about that. So now you have your food, and lots of it. Great! It’s time to start cooking. Put on your apron, chef’s hat, and whatever else that you happen to use in the kitchen.
CHEAP AND EASY FRUGAL MEALS
In this post, we are going to cover our favorite top inexpensive meals to make while staying within our budget. With grocery prices ever changing, sometimes it is hard to make elaborate meals. The truth is, any meal (even if it costs less than one dollar) can be great. It all depends who cooks it and just how much love went into the frugal cooking.
3 Frugal Breakfast Ideas
Our first idea for breakfast is Oatmeal with Raisins & Sugar. Oatmeal is one of those cheap food staples that ever person should have in their household. There are a million different ways to cook oatmeal, and we recommend cooking it with some raisins and a spoon of brown sugar.
A frugally prepared breakfast can still taste great!
Breakfast number two is a nice plate of homemade pancakes with a side of fruit. This is probably one of the most frugal meals, especially if you are willing to go on Craigslist and find free fruit. Seriously! Go to Craigslist and you’ll see that people with citrus trees are willing to give away free fruit. For the pancakes, you can just go on Amazon and get a 10-pound bag of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix for just under $20. You will be able to make about 135, 4” pancakes with that!
The third breakfast is really simple. It’s just a plain old banana and a bowl of yogurt. Sometimes a plain breakfast is good way to enjoy the simpler side of life. Preparation is fast, that is, if you know how to peel a banana and fill a bowl with yogurt. You can get creative and sprinkle some berries on top of your bowl of yogurt to introduce some variety into this super frugal meal.
Cheap Lunch Ideas
Ah leftovers. This is perhaps one of most frugal of all lunch ideas. You could even have leftovers for breakfast or dinner. In my house, we are only allowed to eat leftovers at lunch because we have a food system that we follow.
Another absolutely spectacular frugal lunch is cheese and crackers with fruit. Crackers are cheap and so is cheese. You can get a pound of cheese and in the right environment; it’ll stay good for a month or more in your fridge.
Is it possible to eat frugal meals every day? Heck yeah it is. All my meals are under $5 and I am living perfectly. I highly encourage you to look more into eating frugally. With the money you save, you can invest in your future or even other personal projects.
Food represents a big fraction of most households’ monthly budgets. When people suddenly find themselves in financial difficulties, the food budget is the first to decrease because they immediately eliminate eating out expenses and start preparing all their meals at home. This, of course, results in considerable savings. But, when you need to start a really frugal living, there is much more you can do to save on food expenses.
Save Money By Smart Grocery Shopping
Saving money on groceries can be a great way to lower your expenses and allocate the money to a better use while at the same time paying more attention to what you eat. So, here are the best tips for saving money on groceries to get you started with a frugal food budget.
First of all, you have think about what combination of ingredients will allow you to have healthy, varied meals on a budget. The best advice here is to choose a few cheap staple foods for most of your satiation and chose a few splurges to add variety, flavor, and nutrition to your menu. Great staple foods are pastas, rice, quinoa, and legumes like beans and lentils, because they are pretty cheap, easy to store and cook, they are filling and they can often be found on discounts. Whenever your budget permits and you come across a great deal on one of these items you should definitely stock up on it. That way you will definitely be saving money on groceries over time. It’s worth noting that most of these foods are really healthy too, especially the quinoa and legumes.
Now let’s focus on the “splurges” and how you can incorporate them in your menus while still saving money on groceries. When it comes to food, herbs, organic vegetables and fruits, good quality meat, and seafood are all considered to be splurges when you look at price to quantity ratios. However, many argue they are well worth the price because of the flavors and health benefits they provide. Herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, mint, chives, oregano and others are a great addition to many meals – for example, a teaspoon of basil can really elevate any plate of pasta. And they have powerful health benefits too. But also they can be really expensive if you buy them from the supermarket.
When it comes to herbs, and even certain fruits and vegetables, the most cost-efficient thing you could do is to grow them yourself. Growing your own herbs, cherry tomatoes, onions, beans and other fruits and vegetables is very cost-efficient because the seeds, containers, and compost all together cost just a few dollars per type of plant. It doesn’t take up a lot of space at all to have a few windowsill containers for herbs and a few larger ones for fruits and vegetables of your choice. A lot of people, both living in houses with backyards and in apartment buildings with no balconies, have already realized the benefits from growing these plants and they are sharing their experience and advice online, so it wouldn’t be hard to learn what you need to know about gardening. And there is no better way to be saving money on groceries than to grow your own organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
If you do not have the room to grow your own vegetables and herbs, a good way to get them at a good price would be to find a local farmer’s market or a few local farmers who will let you pick what you need, at a better price than what you would find at the grocery store. Many farmers already have small stands set up directly on their farms for produce that they have picked already and there is also a good chance that they have more than produce available to be purchased.
Regarding fruits and vegetables, a great way to save money on these ingredients is to buy frozen ones. Frozen peas, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and vegetable mixes are very easy to prepare and incorporate into most meals. They will add much-needed variety to a plain pot of rice, quinoa, or pasta. And, even though they are not fresh, they still contain a lot of their nutrients. Similarly, canned fish of any kind can be really healthy and nutritious, like canned tuna in water. Frozen vegetables are much cheaper than fresh ones, and canned fish is long-lasting and easy to store so, it is possible (and worth it) to stock up when it’s greatly discounted. Thus, if you really want to be saving money or groceries, you should substitute meat with discounted canned fish and most fresh vegetables and fruits with frozen ones – but you can still use your favorite fresh vegetables and herbs for a really low cost if you grow them in your own garden.
One way my family saves money on groceries is to have lots of freezer space for storage. I have a small chest freezer and two smaller refridgerator/freezer combos. I have lots of fresh veggies and fruits stored in there, meat of all kinds, fish, poultry and quick things for when we are busy and need to save time on cooking. You can buy large amounts of anything that is on sale, put it into useable quantities and freeze it for later. One example is hamburger meat of any kind. I buy the giant packages when it is on sale, take it home and make as many smaller packages as I can for freezing. I typically use it to make Bolognese Sauce and know that I use about 300 grams at a time. Other people might get the same package and make as many meat patties as they can, figure out how many they would need to feed their families on any given night and separate by the number of patties and put them in the freezer.
Fresh meats and produce are not the only thing I freeze to save time and money. As I stated earlier that I use hamburger to make Bolognese Sauce, I make enough sauce for three to four meals. That goes for normal sauce without meat as well which I would use for Lasagna. If I make a batch of Lasagna Sauce, I will make a double batch and freeze whatever I don’t use making the Lasagna. Also, many people set one day aside just to cook things that, they can take with them to work and put it in the freezer. They might spend an entire day cooking large quantities of different foods just for this purpose.
Two examples of something we like to do in this area are mini-burritos and cassaroles. Both of these things are great as time saving meals or snacks later. You can also do this with Quiches, Muffins, Cakes, Waffles, Pancakes…pretty much everything you can think of can be pre-made and frozen in small batches. Not only does it save you lots of time thoughout your week or month, but it also gives you the chance to have a larger variety of foods throughout a week. Any time you cook and have left-overs, put them in the freezer if, you will not be taking them for lunch the next day. I hope this article has given you enough ideas to get you started saving money on groceries!
Food is a major daily expense for any household. Sure, it doesn’t cost as much as rent of loan installments, but it can certainly take up a lot of your budget on a monthly basis if you are not careful with your purchases. For health-conscious people who want use more organic ingredients, the expense quickly gets even higher. In economics, the concept of paying more for better quality is well-known and makes sense. But does that mean that healthy foods always have to come at a steeper price? Thankfully, the answer is no. However, if you want to get your healthy organic ingredients at a cheap price, you will have to invest some time and effort to make it possible. Still, the gains in health and savings should make this endeavor well worth it. So here are a few tips and tricks to help you create your own budget-friendly and healthy grocery shopping list.
In order to create your budget-friendly shipping list that has healthy foods, it is essential to do some preparations in advance. Two main things come to mind: meal planning and grocery price comparison. With proper meal planning one or two weeks ahead you will know exactly which ingredients you need. This will enable you to buy just enough perishable ingredients for your planned menu. A huge amount of perishable ingredients like fruits and vegetables, which pack a healthy punch, are wasted by households on a daily basis – they buy two much with a good intention in mind, but they end up forgetting them in the back of the fridge and eventually have to throw them out. This waste creates considerable unnecessary food expenses which are absolutely in conflict with the idea of a budget-friendly healthy grocery shopping list. By planning meals ahead, you will also be able to select where to buy the ingredient you need. Then, the grocery price comparison will help you minimize your food expenses further.
Preparing Your Healthy Food Shopping List
When you make your grocery shopping list you should also keep in mind that it will pay off to buy certain ingredients in bulk when they are significantly discounted and then store or freeze the extra stock. Being aware of present and future deals at the bigger supermarkets where you live is relatively easy, since most of them have websites and newsletters that they update regularly. It will allow you to optimize on your purchases. Your buy-in-bulk shopping list of grocery items that are healthy should definitely include quinoa, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and whole-grain cereals. All of these grains will store well over time, as long as the original packaging remains sealed. You can also invest in glass storage canisters to keep contents of open packages in, so they will remain fresh until you get a chance to use them all in your recipies.
Steep price discounts would also make it worthwhile to stock up on frozen vegetables when you have the chance. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas and vegetable mixes make a great budget-friendly addition to a healthy menu and they are incredibly easy to prepare and incorporate into meals. Lastly, you should also include water-packed tuna, chicken breast, seafood and lean ground turkey in your buy-in-bulk healthy grocery shopping list.
Shopping Online With a Healthy Grocery Shopping List
A less-known tip on finding cheap organic food is to buy some of your food online! If you live in the US, you have access to a lot of food providers who deliver great quality ingredients at a lower price compared to most supermarkets. The Internet is also a great source of inspiration for tasty, healthy meals, no matter where you live. In addition to that, there are entire online communities where people discuss healthy recipes, prices, tips and tricks, and basically anything related to food. There are even many online tools to help you create your own shopping list for cheap healthy meals.
However, the best way to optimize on health and expenses is to do part of the analysis and planning yourself. These tools can be useful for learning nutritional values, but they may not be able to help you get the best bang for your buck. When you create your budget-friendly healthy grocery shopping list, one of the best things to do is to incorporate local deals as well as local ingredients. This will increase the variety of foods in your menu at a very reasonable price. Either way, don’t forget to have fun with it and enjoy getting and being healthy!
Over the past decades, we have all witnessed a shift slowly gaining momentum in the Western world, where people increasingly have the need or the wish to significantly change their spending habits. Among those people are students who want to minimize their debt, parents who are struggling with unemployment or cut backs, and others who just want to get out of the consumerist race and rethink their spending. If you find yourself in one of those groups, or in a similar situation, then this article is just for you because it will focus on cutting down your food budget with better planning and teach you how to compare grocery prices.
Food is one of the most important categories when it comes to a household’s monthly expenses. It isn’t necessarily that the food item is the largest one in the budget, that is probably rent/mortgage, but food expenditure is actually one of the easiest things to reduce without giving up a lot i.e. it is a relatively painless budget cut. This is because a lot of households waste a lot of the food the buy and by eliminating this waste they can save up to one quarter or more of their regular food expenses. For example, one survey showed that households waste over 7 million tons of food a year. Per household, this is the equivalent of $175.00 worth of food a month! With the average household spending about $200.00 a week on food, this already constitutes a 25% decrease in food expenses per month, even before taking in consideration the benefits from comparing grocery prices when shopping.
Analyze All Grocery Stores When Price Shopping
Some people think that doing an extensive grocery price comparison is not worth the effort. Who would even go that far to do their shopping? Well, a lot of people would actually find the time well worth it, especially those who are working with a limited food budget. There are two main reasons why. First of all, once the initial analysis is done, the inconvenience of shopping in different or far-off stores can be significantly reduced by proper planning. In other words, it’s not like you are going to be visiting many of the stores each week – rather, you will probably end up visiting the far-off stores once to twice a month at the most. Good planning ahead will help you make sure that your visits coincide with the deals you’re after and you will be able to maximize the usefulness of each trip.
The initial analysis of various grocery stores will show you where the ingredients you use the most are the cheapest and also each store’s notable deals on certain items. Depending on where you live, you might have to do this analysis by yourself or you could use a grocery price comparison website or app. If you have to do it by yourself, then it helps to know that most big supermarkets have their online websites where they regularly post all the discount deals and you can often subscribe to a newsletter too, so it is easy enough to stay updated on those. Smaller local stores probably won’t have a website, but these are still worth including in your grocery price comparison because they often have (cheap) products which are not offered at other supermarkets. In my area there are several local shops, each dedicated to very specific items such as meats and cheeses, breads and pastries and one that sells pasta by the gram. The meat shop has the very best prociutto and the price is better than what I can find at any meat counter in any other store but, it is also something that has to be used very quickly or it will go bad. The breads and I can buy daily in the morning when it is still hot and it is priced by weight which keeps the cost down. The bread also has to be eaten right away as there are no additives to keep the bread fresh for a long time like in most supermarket breads. Any bread that is left over can be dried and grated into tiny pieces to either use as a breading agent for fried foods or can be mixed into meatloaf, meatballs, stuffed peppers, bread pudding or however else you can think to use it. This makes buying fresh bread an extremely budget friendly shopping idea as well as a frugal alternative to buying in a big store.
These products can add much needed variety to your meals on a budget, while still keeping costs low. Once you’ve done the grocery price comparison, it helps to make a general plan of where and when you get most of your staple foods like rice, beans, meat, and vegetables, and then make annotations for certain cheap buys that add variety or nutrition to your menu.
The second reason why grocery price comparison is worth doing is, of course, the considerable savings! Many supermarkets regularly offer all kinds of budget friendly shopping on foods at 35% or 50% off. It is absolutely possible to purchase over 90% of the food you eat on a discount. It might not give you a lot of freedom to have a different menu every day, but there are certainly a lot of different things you can do. The Internet is a great place to get some inspiration and connect with people who are or were living on a similar food budget as you are. Always do your research, know what stores are worth a visit comparing grocery prices for your budget friendly shopping trips. Keep in mind local shops for frugal alternatives on fresh items where the quality is, more often than not, better.
Nowadays, with our fast-paced way of living, most people buy their food, cleaning supplies and toiletries at supermarkets. This makes sense since supermarkets are easily accessible, convenient, and often they offer a lot of great deals. However, it is also worth noting that supermarkets are also highly sophisticated marketing environments, designed in a way that encourages spending. Thus, if you are starting a frugal lifestyle, you need to be careful while shopping at the supermarket. The trick is to take advantage of the convenience, variety and great deals offered by supermarkets, without falling prey to frivolous spending pressures. There are several steps you can take to maximize your savings and convenience: plan ahead, compare supermarkets prices, and use up your coupons.
The first two steps, plan ahead and compare supermarket prices, are complementary. Planning your food consumption ahead is beneficial for two main reasons – it prevents you from overstocking on perishables and wasting food and it allows you to analyze which supermarket offers the ingredients you will need at the best price-to-quality ratio. Both of these will have an immense effect on your food and toiletries expenditure. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American family of four wastes $2,275 worth of food per year! This is a completely unnecessary expense that can absolutely be avoided with a bit of care and planning ahead. If you need even more motivation, then think of the total monetary costs of handling this waste and the environmental damage that is caused by it!
Planning your food consumption ahead is also a great way to control what you buy and eat. For example, if you do your shopping while you are hungry and with no specific shopping list, then you are much more likely to make impulsive buys or resort to unhealthy shacks, frozen pizzas and other fast food. Whichever way you look at it, there are plenty of reasons why you should take the time and pay more attention to your supermarket spending. It begins with planning ahead, and once that is done the next step is to compare supermarket prices.
Why should you compare supermarket prices?
Nowadays, it is very easy to do so online, from the convenience of your home. Online tools allow you to enter all the items you will be putting in your shopping basket this week and then they give you a fairly accurate approximation of how much that basket would cost at various supermarkets. These tools even allow you to do your shopping online, thus saving you time as well, but if you aren’t comfortable buying food online then you don’t have to use that feature. Since this is such a convenient way to consistently save some money on food, toiletries and cleaning products, you should definitely take the time to look at the different prices at various supermarkets.
If you are living a frugal lifestyle, it is important to not only compare supermarket prices across different supermarkets but also across brand categories. Most supermarkets offer great variety in terms of branding for a lot of products. Usually, you will find premium, branded, own brand and value versions of a lot of consumer products. There is always a significant difference in price among the different versions, but not necessarily so in terms of quality.
While the branded products will probably be the same in all of the bigger supermarkets, the own brand and value versions are probably going to be different. For the biggest savings, it is really worth taking the time to sample the cheaper versions of the products you use often from various supermarkets. Especially in the case of snacks, sweets, pastas, toiletries and cleaning agents you should be able to find cheaper alternatives that are just as good as the branded ones. Nowadays, there are even online communities which rate the qualities of cheaper own brand versions against the branded version, so you can benefit from the analysis without testing all the different versions yourself.
Lastly, using coupons for your supermarket purchases can also help you lower your expenditure on food. There are many websites which provide printable and online coupons for all kinds of products, but mostly for supermarket purchases. You can also look in local newspapers and the Sunday paper, which comes with three different coupon inserts on a regular basis. You can plan your food spending ahead and then try to find coupons for the ingredients you need at the supermarkets available to you, or you can first research what kind of coupons are available for the next week and plan your meals around that, whichever way is more convenient for you. And very soon you will realize that when you plan ahead, compare supermarket prices and use coupons, you will be more mindful of supermarket spending and you will enjoy considerable savings week after week.
When going grocery shopping, it is easy to become overwhelmed by all the different products on display as well as the variety within each product category. This is not by accident. Supermarkets are intense and highly proficient marketing environments whose objective it is to encourage you to spend more. Everything from how and where the products are laid out, to the sounds, smells and lighting, is used in a way that makes customers want to stay longer, walk the aisles slower, and ultimately spend more. Does this mean you should stop shopping there if you want to save money on groceries? Absolutely not – there are several reasons why you should still shop at big supermarkets if you are on a tight budget. They offer customers convenience (which is time-saving), discounts and bargains, and variability which allows consumers access to all kinds of ingredients at various prices.
However, there are several things you can do to ensure that you are not tricked into spending more than you need to – plan your purchases and shop from a shopping list, compare grocery prices, do some or all of your food purchases online and look at trade down product alternatives. Put all these strategies to work and you will not only avoid the frivolous spending temptations set up by supermarkets, but also you will find yourself spending much less on your groceries.
THE BEST WAY TO COMPARE PRICES FOR GROCERIES WHEN SHOPPING
Many people think that when it comes to saving money on groceries, the most important thing is to compare grocery prices between supermarkets. This is only partially true. If you always compare grocery prices when you are doing your shopping, you will definitely save some money. However, if you want to minimize food expenditure, it is not enough just to ensure that you are buying groceries from the supermarket where they are the cheapest. You also need to ensure that you are buying only food that you will actually eat and that you are taking all alternatives into consideration when it comes to the grocery price comparison.
Buying only the food that you will actually eat sounds like common sense, but there is a good reason why this point is emphasized. A lot of people, whether they are aware of it or not, actually buy a lot more food than they eat, resulting in a lot of waste of food and money. In fact, the average American family of four spends more than $2000 a year on food they end up throwing away! So if you want to save money, start planning your meals a week in advance. Since you’ll know what you need before you go shopping, you can compare grocery prices at home using online tools that show you how much your basket will cost at several major supermarkets. Then, do your weekly shopping all at once and only buy things that are on the shopping list, which is based on your preplanned weekly menu.
This way you will not only stop wasting food and money, but also you will be less susceptible to the supermarkets’ main marketing strategies. The aim of most of their strategies is to prolong your visit to the supermarket – the longer you’re there, the more you will spend. Making impulsive purchases is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can take you away from your goal – whether that is to save money, have a healthier diet, both, or something else. Buying impulsively also implies that you didn’t have the chance for grocery price comparison beforehand, thus it is probably reducing the possible savings. A shopping list shows exactly what you need to buy and if you are determined to stick to it then there is no chance you will be tempted into buying something that isn’t really essential or good value.
Lastly, you should try buying (some or all) your groceries online. Even online websites can be customized to entice you to spend more, but the risk is greatly diminished if you already have your shopping list. In fact, online websites which allow you to compare grocery prices and buy groceries online also offer trade down product alternatives that can save you money. The idea is to trade down a brand level and save some money in the process. So, if you were about to buy name brand dish washing liquid, the trade down alternative is to buy dish washing liquid from the supermarket’s own brand. A lot of the time, there is not such a significant difference between product alternatives when you go from brand to own brand and even to value alternatives, especially when it comes to snacks, grains, toiletries, and cleaning products, so it’s worth trying a cheaper alternatives and putting all the savings to better use. Of course, you can use this strategy along with all the rest even if you are not shopping online!
Whether you want to start living more frugally, pay off debt or save up for a high-ticket item, living on a budget is a great way to achieve your financial goals. Food is one of those expenses that we have on a regular basis, and yet we don’t really think about how much it’s costing us. If you’re trying to cut down on food spending and save some money, then you should probably substitute eating out and fast food with home-cooked, low-cost meals. Doing your grocery shopping on a budget is the best way to lower your expenses even further, so here are some tips and tricks that will help you keep to the budget and make the most of it.
If you’re looking at your expenditure on food and disliking the fact that food expenditure takes up a lot of your monthly budget then imposing a strict restriction on your food expenses can make you more efficient and save you some cash. If you set a predetermined amount to be spent on food each month then you will have a bigger incentive to buy affordable ingredients as well as to make sure that no purchase is made in vain. Both of these activities in combination can lower your food expenditure by one quarter or more. Thus, doing your grocery shopping on a budget can be a great way to save some money.
Being Creative Shopping for Groceries on a Budget
At the same time, grocery shopping on a frugal living budget will require you to be creative and resourceful if you want to enjoy great taste and food quality at a lower price. Doing the grocery shopping on a budget doesn’t automatically imply that you can only afford to buy cheap ingredients. If your budget is big enough, then of course you can afford more expensive ingredients as well. However, if you want to minimize your expenses on food, the best way is to use a lot of staple ingredients which are low-cost and store well, and then elevate the taste with herbs, frozen vegetables and fruits and more expensive ingredients when they happen to be discounted. Great staple foods include rice, quinoa, legumes, pasta and potatoes as well as frozen and canned fish. This ingredient list is very versatile and allows you to create all kinds of different meals which are tasty, nutritious and inexpensive.
The best way to make sure you don’t overspend while you’re doing the grocery shopping on a budget is to shop from a shopping list. The act of already having selected what you really need to buy before you get to the supermarket is going to prevent you from making impulsive purchases and buying food that you won’t eat. You must keep in mind that supermarkets are marketing environments that want to get you to spend as much as possible. Everything from how the products are laid out to the sounds and smells in the supermarket is made to encourage spending by the consumers. The best way to resist the subtle temptations is to stick to your list.
Here’s another tip – when you’re grocery shopping on a budget, one of the easiest ways to get more bang for your buck is to make use of grocery price comparison tools. These tools allow you to enter all the items you need in a virtual shopping basket and then they give you an approximation of how much that basket of goods will cost at various large supermarkets. Not only that, but many tools also show you cheaper alternatives to the products you’ve selected. Even if you’re not willing to downgrade a brand level, these tools can help you buy the exact products you need from the supermarket where the price is lowest.
Lastly, shopping for fresh ingredients when they are in season is an affordable way to enjoy variety while grocery shopping on a budget. If you buy fruits and vegetables that are out of season then you are also paying a premium that covers the extra shipping costs as well as the convenience of eating food that is out of season. Conversely, fruits and vegetables that are in season sell at a discounted price compared to other fresh produce which allows you to make a variety of low cost meals. This makes them a great addition to a well-balanced, frugal living, low-cost menu.
Everywhere around the web, I see people searching for a grocery list maker. If you are one of these searchers, you’ve landed on the right page. We are going to show you the ultimate shopping list generator we’ve ever seen. If you want to make a grocery list, it is really simple. You just need the proper tools and that is exactly what BudgetHub is going to provide.
A grocery list will generally change each shopping trip, unless you have your pantry super organized. I have a buddy who buys his food in bulk by listing all the types’ food he needs for the month. He then continues to freeze the produce and put everything into storage. Each month he is able to go to the supermarket with the same exact list. However, this is not realistic for most people so in order to efficiently buy groceries; one will need a grocery list maker.
With a proper grocery list template, it is simple to just fill out everything you need. You might even get some ideas while looking over the template. Say you put down milk; you might see that there is also a field to fill out for eggs. You check your fridge and you have no eggs! You can then fill in that you need eggs. It is really as simple as that to create a standard grocery shopping list.
With frugal living being a major issue today there could be no better idea than the printable grocery list. There are two main types of free grocery list makers: online and printable. We will be covering both and for the most part, both types of list creators have the same exact advantages and disadvantages. If you choose to use one of the options that you find on BudgetHub, it is most likely the case that you are going to be able to save money. If you organize your shopping list, you’ll be able to find coupons that you need more easily. We’ll be covering couponing more in depth in future articles.
Free Printable Grocery List
Below you will find our customized free grocery list maker. It is really simple to print. All you need to do is click and find your browsers ‘print page’ option. Share this with you friends if you find the template useful. We will also go over more printable shopping lists in a later post.
Grocery list making template. Print now!
The printout consists of three templates, all pretty equal in width. There are many different boxes filled with lines. You can fill out the ‘Frozen Food Aisles’, ‘Non-Food Items’, ‘Dry Food Aisles’, ‘Reminders’, ‘Produce Section’, ‘Dairy Section’, and ‘Meat Section’ boxes. I gave this printout to a friend and he requested a few because he found it to be super useful.
There are many spectacular options for online grocery list makers and we’re going to go over a few. There are tons of grocery list making apps available on the Google Play Store. To be honest, you should be able to find a nice little tool by using Google and just searching for a list creator. That is exactly what I have done for years and I will continue doing it.
I honestly prefer to use a printable shopping list. It’s a lot nicer sitting down with a piece of paper and a pen and letting my brain flow onto the template. I mean come on! You’ll save more money using the printout shopping list than it will cost to actually print.
By searching online, you can find grocery list maker that are excel based. Some are aisle by aisle and some focus on the food groups. You can do this on a budget. If creating one of these grocery lists wasn’t cheap, we most definitely wouldn’t be featuring a tutorial on BudgetHub for goodness sakes!
One of the best ways to boost your savings or quickly pay off a significant amount of debt is to adopt, permanently or temporarily, a frugal lifestyle. A frugal lifestyle entails eliminating waste from your life, increasing efficiency, and finding better ways to do everyday things. A lot of the aspects of living frugal can often seem weird or too difficult to do, simply because people have become accustomed to relying on external parties for all sorts of goods and services. But the more you commit to a frugal lifestyle, the bigger the benefits will be. If you are willing to learn how to do things in a new, more efficient way, you will be able to whip your finances into better shape in no time. This article will focus in particular on frugal living and household expenses, such as food and home cleaning. Here are some strategies to get you started. Frugal Living Tips and Tricks
Food takes up a lot of most households’ budgets. If you factor in the cost of all the food you buy and make at home, of the food and drinks you have at your workplace, of your morning coffee, brunch, dining out, and going out for drinks, it all adds up to quite a sum. Thus, food expenditure is definitely one of those things that you can be really frugal with, if you only take the time. If you are really serious about frugal living, then the first thing you should do is to minimize eating out from convenience and eat out only for special occasions or when the food/drinks offered are unique and cannot be prepared at home.
Eating out for the sake of convenience is when you buy your morning coffee on your way to work instead of preparing one from home, or when you have lunch from the restaurant near your office instead of bringing something homemade. Such expenses really do pile on quickly, since they are pretty much happening on a daily basis. Eating out in such cases is against the tenets of frugal living because it entails lack of preparation and loss in efficiency. Calculate right now how much it would cost to make a great cup of coffee at home and compare that to how much you’re paying for it outside. Even if the difference is only in cents/pennies, and probably it’s more than that, it becomes significant enough over time. So find an acceptable way to bring food and beverages from home and stick with it. After all, how hard can it be to find a decent inexpensive food container and a nice-looking water bottle that can easily be filled with anything?
Now turn your focus to eating in – what kind of ingredients you use and where and how you obtain them. Incorporating canned foods, frozen vegetables, and pastas and grains is a great way to keep food expenses low. One of the previously mentioned ‘too hard to do’ aspects of frugal living is to grow your own food! Now, this is something most people would instantly reject as too difficult or not worth it, but they’d be wrong on both counts. Starting a home garden is really easy nowadays with so many instructional videos and articles available online. You can do it indoors and outdoors, wherever you can spare some space. And the savings can be quite significant since you can easily grow small plants and kinds of herbs. Fresh, organic vegetables and most types of herbs are usually quite expensive in terms of price vs. satiation and quantity. But, this aspect of frugal living will enrich you in more ways than one – it will also allow you to have variety in your meals for a low cost, you will benefit from the therapeutic effect of gardening, and you feel proud to be a little more self-sufficient.
The last couple of frugal living tips are regarding the topic of household cleaning. When it comes to keeping your home clean on a budget, you can save a lot on cleaning agents for the laundry and for general cleaning purposes. A great way to save a ton of money on household cleaning is to start making your own laundry detergent. Yes, that’s a thing. It’s incredibly easy and cheap to make at home. You could save about 25 cents per wash so the more people are in your household, the more this is worth doing. When it comes to cleaning in general, it’s even easier. All you need to clean your counters, your stove, your shower, floors and even toilet, is a simple mix of vinegar and water. This mix is a real all-purpose cleaner, which is gentle enough to use on almost all surfaces, excluding textiles. Once you see how much you are saving by just using these two strategies, you will wonder why you didn’t start your frugal living earlier!