I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to save a little bit of money right now. I get it. The pay-check doesn’t seem to go as far as you would like. I also know a thing or two about stretching a budget. We have had some really tight years and I have had to get super creative at making a tiny grocery and household budget go a very long ways.
You’ll often see huge lists of ways to cut spending out of your budget. I used to find them overwhelming. But these are some quick ideas that can spur you on to saving money in your grocery and household budget.
1. Stop Buying Pre- Packaged Food
Anything that is on the inside aisles of the grocery store is going to cost a lot of money. They are also not the healthiest choices for your family either. I’m not saying you can’t buy the odd bag of chips, but save those for special times. This may mean you need to start cooking from scratch more.
2. Use a Calculator when Grocery Shopping
Use a calculator when grocery shopping and stick to your budget. This forces you to really examine your purchases. If you have $150/week for food and the tally is nearing $145 and you still need milk, you are then forced to put that bag of skittles back and wait till next week. But, if that bag of skittles is needed for a special birthday, put it in the cart and know that you have to put something else back on the shelf to stay on budget.
3. Stop Buying Paper Products
Stop buying paper towels and napkins. While it doesn’t seem like these items will add up, every little bit helps. Use old towels to wipe up spills. You can also cut up old t-shirts, towels and bedding to make rags. If you want a nice finished edge you can either hem or serge the edges. If you use knit fabric though the edges won’t fray and you can skip the step of hemming.
This is a great way to use up items that are worn out or heading to the garbage anyway.
4. Shop the Thrift Store
Shop the thrift store for everything. I mean it. Everything! Need a new crock pot? Try looking at thrift stores for awhile. If you can’t find one ask on your Facebook profile or on Facebook Marketplace. So many people upgrade and get rid of perfectly good items.
I routinely pop into the thrift store to see what’s new. The latest item I found was a flour sifter. I have been grinding my own flour for the past 6 months and wanted one. It took me about 2 months of waiting, but I found a brand new one for $1 at our local thrift store.
I buy 50% of our clothing and maybe more at the thrift store. I always check there first and buy new second only if I can’t find what we need.
5. Use the Library
Not sure if that book you’ve been eyeing up is worth buying? Worried it’ll just collect dust. Use the try before you buy method. I pre-read all books before deciding if they are worth the space on my shelf. This is especially good when looking at special interest or reference books. If your local library doesn’t carry the book you want ask if they have an inter-library option. Our Library is able to bring books in from around the province. I use their online ordering system.
6. Schedule Your Trips to Town
Only go to town when you have a big list or a scheduled trip. We live 25 minutes from the best grocery store so I only go to town once a week or less. This means I always have a running grocery list on the fridge. If we don’t have it, we wait till I go to town. When we had piano lessons in town, this became the time I shopped to limit my trips to town.
If you live in town do this as well. All those little quick trips end up costs more money on fuel and groceries because I know you’re not going to just buy 1 jug of milk. Am I right?
7. Say No to Yourself and Your Family
Sometimes we need to just say no to things we think we need. At least for myself a lot of the items I used to purchase were really wants and not needs. Learning the discipline of saying no or we need to wait is huge. It sets up our kids for success. It sets up our finances to succeed.
Saying no doesn’t have to last a lifetime. But it does need to happen if there is no money for an item after all the actual needs have been met. Saying no is sometimes just for a season.
8. Cut Out Frivolous Things
A couple years ago we cancelled satellite tv years ago and instead signed up for Netflix. We found we weren’t really using the tv like we thought and since we have internet and I found we were watching a lot of our shows online since we’d miss them on tv as we had something going when the shows we were on.
About a year ago we purchased a Google Chrome-cast and started streaming our shows direct to the tv. It was great. We could watch HGTV that we never had even when we had satellite tv.
Making changes is hard. But saving money doesn’t have to be. Start small and soon you’ll be ready to tackle some bigger ways to change your budget.