Contributor Post by: Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs
One of my favorite parts of December is taking a look back at the year and seeing our progress. With the alarm clock going off each morning, and every day being filled with busy to-do’s, it’s easy to get swept up in day-to-day tasks of life. And all too quickly, we forget all the hard work we’re doing and progress we’ve been making!
This year, I’ve been honored to share some of my best tips on how to eat real food on a budget, so I thought it would be helpful to revisit the top 10 tips from the year as a whole. From budgeting to shopping to cooking from scratch, there’s something here for everyone.
From my heart to yours, cheers to a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a frugal grocery budget!
Blessings, Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Top 10 Grocery Budgeting Tips of 2014
from Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs
#1. Get a Grocery Budget!
Ha! You didn’t think I’d give you a list of budgeting tips and not tell you to get a budget, did you?
Hands down, creating a frugal grocery budget is the absolute best way to save money on real food. Now I know this isn’t a topic that many families like to discuss, so I create a short series walking you through the simple steps on creating a grocery budget that will work for you and your family.
If saving money, eating well and/or reducing your food budget is one of your goals for 2015, you need a grocery budget. This is so important, that I’m offering my eBook “22 Days to a Fresh Start” and 5 pages worth of grocery budgeting printables for FREE when you subscribe to the Crumbs weekly newsletter.
#2 – Keep Your Receipts
As ordinary and mundane as it sounds, keeping your receipts will completely revolutionize the way you view your grocery spending.
Learn the 6 reasons why you should keep your grocery receipts (besides the fact that it’ll save you money), plus practical advice for reviewing them on a regular basis and suggestions on what to do with them all once you’re done going through them!
#3 – Evaluate Your Food in Terms of Time
You’ll find foodies all across the web encouraging you to make as many foods as you can from scratch, but is it really worth your time and effort? After all, there’s only 24 hours in each day and we all have busy schedules. Is it absolutely necessary to make everything we eat from scratch?
This simple 3-step approach will help you evaluate the food you eat in terms of the time you spend preparing it, and help you determine which foods are really worth the extra time to make them from scratch versus selecting healthy store-bought options.
#4 – Simple Ways to Save on Groceries Without Using a Calculator
Despite having a formal education in math, I’ve been known to make errors in my calculations. That’s why these simple tips for saving on groceries WITHOUT a calculator are near and dear to my math-challenged heart.
Start using these practical ideas, and you’ll immediately notice changes in your grocery budget. I haven’t bought cooking spray in over two years thanks to tip #1, and tip #5 is how we keep our food waste to an absolute minimum!
#5 – Learn how to Save Money at Farmers Markets
Although written at the start of the farmers market season, these 8 strategies for saving money at the farmers market actually contains timeless money saving strategies that are helpful year-round and can be applied to practically any shopping venue out there.
My two personal favorites from this list are #4 and #7. The former is how we know whether or not what we’re buying is truly a good deal, and the latter shares how to stock-up on staples for just a few bucks!
Bonus! When farmer’s market season is in full swing, use these 6 tips to balance farmer’s market prices with teeny tiny budgets.
#6 – Substitute Foods Before Buying New Ones
There’s nothing worse than getting mid-way through a recipe only to realize that you’ve run out of a vital ingredient.
While I can’t promise that these 25 frugal food substitutions will prevent this from ever happening again, I can promise that using this list before you leave the grocery store will save a few bucks from your grocery budget. From rare spices to eggs to butter to cheese: This substitution list should be printed and given a permanent home on the inside of your spice cabinet!
#7 – Stretch Protein to the Fullest
Quality protein is one of the biggest expenses in a grocery budget, so it’s important to stretch it whenever possible to make each dollar go as far as it possibly can.
- Learn how to get 7 meals from two whole chickens, and then turn the bones into nourishing chicken stock (in the slow cooker no less!).
- Soak, de-gas and cook beans from scratch
- Employ some of these 8 different ways to save on cheese, beyond buying it in a brick
#8 – Realize that little savings add up to BIG savings.
While each individual idea among this awesome list of 20 ways to save on real food in the kitchen aren’t earth shattering, and they certainly won’t shave hundreds off your bill each month, when you add them all up, they’ll easily save you hundreds off your grocery budget each year.
Tip #2 alone is how we didn’t spend any money on groceries for 30 days, and #18 is now our favorite way to cook vegetables (not to mention it help us trim our spending on expensive quality fats). And, Tip #20 is a great one too – between you and me, it’s my personal secret weapon!
#9 – Know How to Save at Your Favorite Store
If you’re a fan of health food stores, knowing the intricacies of how the store is laid out, as well as their marketing techniques, will really pay off. Knowing which store has the best deal on the foods you regularly buy will not only save you money, but it will save you time too. Here are a few of the top frugal finds at the most commonly shopped spots for real foodies:
- Real Foods at Costco
- Real Foods at Costco – Gluten-free Edition
- Real Foods at Whole Foods
- 9 Practical Tips for Saving at Whole Foods
- Real Foods at Trader Joes
- Real Food at the Dollar Store
#10 – Don’t just go with the flow. Find a Meal Plan that works for you!
The moment you lackadaisically throw items in your grocery cart without a plan for how you’ll use them is when you become your grocery budget’s own worst enemy.
Regardless of what your meal plan looks like, get one. And never leave home without it!
It can be scratched on a post-it note, typed in Excel or part of a meal plan subscription. Just be sure to find a method that works for you and stick with it.
And it’s important to know that when it comes to meal planning, Kelly and I both have your back! As you know, Kelly provides FREE Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Meal Plans to subscribers of The Nourishing Home. And for those of you who enjoy a whole grain lifestyle, I’m thrilled to announce that I have a brand new whole grain meal planning system rolling out at the end of the month. (See details below.)
Don’t give up! Eating real food on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s the ministry of The Nourishing Home and Don’t Waste the Crumbs to help you eat well and nourish your family. We’re honored to serve you for His glory!
Are you following a whole grain diet?
Starting December 29, Tiffany’s site, Don’t Waste the Crumbs, will be launching an all-inclusive Whole Grain Meal Plan created with a frugal budget in mind. To learn more about Tiffany’s new meal planning system, be sure to register here. Not only will you receive information about her Frugal Real Food Meal Plans, but you’ll also gain instant access to her free tools for trimming your grocery budget.
Again, Tiffany’s meal plans are whole grain based, so for those of you who are living gluten-free and/or grain-free, please remember that you can gain instant access to Kelly’s free Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Meal Plans by subscribing to The Nourishing Home.
Either way, we’ve got you covered! So don’t wait for the New Year – get started now with meal planning! It’s truly one of the best ways to save time, money and stress!