How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400
A recent deep look into our finances, made the husband and myself realize that we were spending on average $1,500 every month on groceries for our family of 4. One thousand, five hundred dollars you all…every single month… on groceries! This is an insane chunk of money in our monthly budget that we realized could be utilized smarter. So we made a few changes and I am sharing How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400. This gives us well over $12,000 a year from our budget to spend in other areas like additional savings or family vacation. That is a whole lot of dough.
PLAN ALL MEALS
This is the most important step to cutting that grocery budget. Adapt a thought process for every single meal before going to the grocery and make a detailed list. Meal planning is going to save you hundreds every month!
Here is how the past 30 days broke down for us:
- Week 1: $91.29
- Week 2: $88.33
- Week 3: $124.24
- Week 4: $88.18 plus a $10 pizza night!
Ibotta cash back received : $34.25
Month Total: $367.79
An example week is below so you can get an idea of what we are eating and what foods you can incorporate into your own meal planning!
- Monday: Sausage Pepperoni Penne – $0.87/serving
- Tuesday: Spaghetti with ground beef- $1.32/serving
- Wednesday: Chicken with cream of mushroom, rice and broccoli –$2.27/serving
- Thursday: Fall-off-the-bone Crockpot Ribs with mashed potatoes and green beans. Yes, ribs! I kid you not. We stock up on BOGO days and keep a rack in the freezer for later. $3.28/serving
- Friday: Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with side salad – $0.90/serving
- Saturday: Pancakes with scrambled eggs and fruit – $1.26/serving
- Sunday: Tater Tot Casserole – $1.87/serving
- Breakfast include cereal, oatmeal, and coffee.
- Lunches include leftovers, protein shakes or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
- Snacks include popcorn, apples, bananas, carrots, and almonds.
LOOK AT SALE ITEMS
Plan all meals around what’s on sale that week at your grocery store. Before meal planning in depth, look at what is on sale to make the most out of your grocery budget. If chicken is a bargain, stock up on chicken. If broccoli is cheap, come up with meals that include broccoli. You don’t have to get crazy with stocking up! No need for a 5 year supply of canned soups in the basement but certainly stock on certain items that are frequently used to last a couple months.
Here is a list of items that I am always on the look out for:
- Shampoo and conditioners for the whole family.
- Laundry detergent
- Popcorn (we love popcorn around here).
- Canned soups
- Pet food and treats
I am terrible at this coupon business. I cannot sit down every Sunday and clip all the coupons from the paper or search the internet for coupons to print. If you can- do it! Compare the coupons to what is on sale at the moment and plan. I may not physically clip coupons, however, I do use the store apps to clip the coupons to be saved on my store accounts. I frequent Meijers which has mPerks. You go through the app to click on the coupons you want and at the store just sign in with your phone number and pin and the coupons apply automatically. Every store has some sort of app nowadays so make sure you at least get some coupon deals this way. All those 20..50…75 cent coupons start to add up by the end of the year.
I went to the grocery today and got 4 family sized boxes of cereal for $1 each after sale price and mPerks coupons. That cereal will last all month for snacks and breakfast and only costs $1 per week. Bargain!
KNOW HOW MUCH THINGS COST
Pay attention when grocery shopping at the price tag of everything! Knowing the price of items will help you build smarter meal plans. You can still buy salmon that is on sale this week but cut costs by seasoning with something already in your pantry, adding an affordable vegetable side like broccoli and an affordable, yet filling side, like rice.
Knowing the price of items also helps you spot a great deal! There may be big sale stickers on something but that item could only be 10 cents off! Not a great deal! Make yourself more aware of pricing and after time and practice, you will have a solid idea of what every item in the grocery costs or should cost so you can stretch that dollar.
Here is a list of items that are frequently on my list because they are always affordable and a coupon and/or sale makes them even better:
- Ground turkey
- Seasonal produce.
Small changes can make a big difference! Here are some changes than can save you money:
- Stop eating out! We have never eaten out often but when we did once or twice a month it would cost us $50-$100 per meal to feed the family. Fast food is even at $20. Save eating out for special occasions like birthdays.
- Pack lunches for the whole family. Pack school lunches and your own. My husband was getting in the bad habit of going to grab a soup or sandwich for lunch costing between $5-$10 a day! Instead, I make him a loaded salad or sandwich a couple times a week to curb that habit and make sure lunch foods are readily available for him to grab as he runs out the door in the morning.
- Don’t buy drinks. Sodas, juices, bottles waters, etc. can be a huge monthly cost so stick to tap water.
- Re-think the snack. Crackers, fruit snacks, chips, muffins…. all these snacks kids love aren’t typically healthy and can put your grocery bill through the roof. Cut back and grab nutritionally dense foods like a bananas, which is more filling than a fruit snack and supplies much needed nutrients. Plus, bananas are super affordable.
- Buy store brand when possible. Store brands typically run much cheaper than brand names… sometimes even half the price!
USE AN APP FOR CASH BACK
There are various apps out there that give you cash back on groceries. I use Ibotta and love it. There are even weekly cash back offers on fresh produce. I just paid 88 cents on a pound of green beans that were on sale and got 25 cents cash back. The cash back I get from simply scanning my receipts saves a minimum of $20 a month. This was a great Ibotta cash back month with $34.25. You can cash out anything over $20 with gift cards or even get paid to your Paypal account.
Start using Ibotta today and put in my referral code bhrmcqv to join my team and get cash back for signing up!
DON’T THROW FOOD AWAY
Don’t throw food away… EVER! Maybe this can be put under habits to change but really be aware of the foods in your pantry and fridge that have an upcoming expiration date and plan a meal around those items. Waste is unnecessary! I am shrinking back a bit in my chair at the moment just talking about waste because I am guilty! This is an area I am working on and it takes practice and awareness. Bananas going bad? Make a banana bread. Sauce expiring? Make a chicken marinade for dinner with it. Food is money. Don’t throw away your money!
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Keep your receipts, track expenses in an app or write a log of expenses in a notebook. Track your spending so you know how much of the budget is going towards food. This will help you meal plan more effectively in the future. You can go even further and track foods by categories so you can pinpoint exactly what you are spending money on! Maybe those boxed snacks are costing a bit much monthly and a plan to put more of that money into produce monthly can be executed.
At the end of the month, if grocery costs have been reasonable, treat the family to a pizza night or grab some steaks to grill up! I guess you could just pocket that extra savings too… but we all need to splurge a little on food and enjoy life!
How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400
Your family can follow suite and cut back that grocery monthly bill! Meal planning, buying sale items, coupons, knowing how much items cost, changing a few habits, using a cash back app, never tossing old food and tracking your spending is how you can How to Keep Your Family Monthly Grocery Bill Under $400. I would love for you all to share some other tips, tricks, and ideas in the comments below!
*photography from Unsplash.