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8 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget in the New Year & Better Mom Monday's Link-up!

Dollar Bill

--My son trying to stretch his money--but not getting very far :-).--

Is saving money on your New Year's resolution list?

I looked up data about New Year's resolutions and found that among them:

- getting out of debt and - saving more money and spending less

are two of the most popular.

And 34% of all resolutions have to do with money.  (source)

Groceries are a big part of any family (or personal) budget.  So I'm sharing today some tips that have helped us save money in that department.

When our family had only 3 family members (my oldest was quite small at that time--about 2 years old), our food budget was only about $100 per month.  Along the way we have had tight budgets and I was forced to keep a tight ship.  Hopefully what I've learned can help you too!

8 Tips to bring your food budget under control:

And if it's already under control-- here's how to squeeze a bit more out of it.

1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

The packaged, overpriced stuff is all in the middle of the store.

2. Go to the store with a list and stick to it.

Avoid the trap of impulse buying.

3. Don't take kiddos with you!

Those grocery store marketers know all about dangling toys at just the right height, and making packaging oh-so-irresistible.

4.  Don't go shopping when you're hungry.

Maybe going after a really big meal is a good idea!

5. Shop at online discount retailers.

Two of my favorite online places to buy healthy food are The Green Polka Dot Box and Vitacost.

5.  Shop loss-leaders--(items advertised in order to get you into the store so you spend more on other things.)

You may look a little funny walking up to the checkout with a cartful of whatever is on sale, but don't worry about what others think.  Your wallet will thank you!

6. Add more beans to your diet

Beans are a great protein source (did you know 1 cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein? (Source) and are a real whole food bargain.

Tips for Cooking with Beans:

- If you like beans, but don't like how they--ahem-- treat you, read How to De-Gas Beans. - You can typically substitute 1 cup of dried beans for 1 pound of meat in any recipe.

7. Make your own--everything (within reason)

None of us can do everything "a la Martha Stewart".  (I once saw a parody of Martha Stewart's calendar. On one of the days it had "Make Dirt" listed as one of her daily tasks.)

You don't have to do it all, but just adding one "do it yourself" pantry item to your routine can save you a heap of money.

-  Easiest Almond Milk -  Easy Smooth Coconut Milk -  Homemade Nut and Seed Butter -  Vegetable Broth Mix | All Purpose Seasoning -  Great Taco Seasoning - Powdered Egg Replacer - Powdered Sugar Substitute

8.  Throw Less No Food Away

Leftovers are a regular guest at our dinner table.   Instead of throwing away little bits of "I don't know what to do with this"--why not put a bunch of little bits of stuff on the table and have a fun "Leftover Buffet" :-).  Or check out this "Clean Out the Fridge Pasta" for inspiration.

And if the "little bits" are veggies, put them all in a pan for a stir fry, or into a pot for soup.  Add some meat or beans and rice and you've got a meal.

I hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing so your money flows a little slower out of your wallet this year!

Please share your favorite money saving grocery tip.


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