Budgeting home expenses can be difficult, especially when inflation pushes prices for everything from thumbtacks to electricity up higher and higher each year. When it comes to managing your household income, one of the trickiest parts to plan for is groceries. You want to keep your meals from being repetitive while keeping costs down. Here are some helpful, quick tips you can use to make this task easier and less stressful.
Set a budget and stick to it
This means keeping track of all the dollars and cents you spend. There are some pretty helpful apps out there to help you with this task, including ‘Grocery Pal’ and ‘Goodbudget’.Your local grocery store may even have an app with some money-saving offers such as coupons or weekly specials.
Megan at Homemadeginger.com recommends using a cash envelop system. Each time you go on a grocery run, use only the money from that envelope. This makes tracking what you spend even easier.
Find and use coupons
Yes, clipping coupons can be time consuming, but it can also save your budget to allow you ‘that one item’ you want but thought you couldn’t afford. Emily at PopSugar.com recommends the app ‘Coupon Serpa’ for finding offers. The app features bar codes for coupons that cashiers can scan at the register. Another awesome app is ‘Cartwheel’ by Target. Cartwheel allows you to build your shopping list from Target’s current offers and discounts even apply to merchandise that’s already on sale. Savings on top of savings!
Create a meal plan
Whether you plan for the month, week, or just a couple of days at a time, careful planning will help you stay on track with your budget. It will also aid in finding the coupons you need for your shopping trips. Meal plans provide an opportunity to really think about what you and your family are consuming. The longer you plan meals for, the less frequently you have to go shopping, which cuts down on impulse buys, according to Megan at Homemadeginger.com. Another way food planning helps is to steer you away from impulse buying. If you’ve ever been food shopping when you’re hungry you know it creates the worst environment for spending those few extra dollars on impulse purchases. Curb your instincts for that candy bar at the check out counter by sticking to your meal plan.
Sign up for and use store rewards cards
Where rewards programs are available, enroll. Rewards points or perks from the cards can trim your spending at the point of sale allowing you to save more for your next shopping trip. If you don’t want to carry around a bunch of plastic cards on your key ring or carry them in your wallet, Emily at PopSugar.com recommends using the free ‘Key Ring’ app to keep track of all your cards digitally.
These four quick tips are just a few ways to help get your finances under control and your budget in line. The more time you spend planning, the more money you’ll save!