Budgeting is not a quick fix solution for your finances, but a small and continual growth of your funds week on week as you find yourself saving money on your grocery shopping. By taking the time to find a budget which is realistic to you and your family’s grocery requirements you can easily track what you are spending which in turn allows you to see where you may be overspending and where further cut backs are possible. Simply downgrading your product brand is one way to instantly save a little, but with budgeting, you will start to really focus on where your money is going and where you can make larger and more longterm savings, such as by stocking up on rock bottom price sale goods (if you need them and not just for the sake of it) or by using coupons to stockpile. You can start to save a fortune by spending very little.
Start by working out how much you spent on your last shop. Write out what you bought, how much of it was for that week and how much was for the stock cupboard or longer usage purchases, such a toilet roll and washing up liquid. (Those items have to be bought every few weeks regardless so are ideal for sales and coupon offers.) The initial main lowering of your weekly budget will come from the fresh food you buy for the week so keep your focus on that when going through your receipt.
Don’t give yourself an unrealistic starting figure – you will find it hard to stick to in the longterm if you cut yourself back to basics instantly. You need to take the time over the following weeks to workout how you can best use the budget you have decided upon and where you can cut back further. This could take the form of stockpiling meals by cooking up lots of batches and freezing them, using a slow cooker so you can use more fresh ingredients which are often cheaper than packaged, or by making dinners and lunches with left overs instead of having a different meal planned for every night of the week.
Before you shop, look in your cupboards and see what you have already in there. (This is where coupon and sale stocks come in handy, and this builds up over the weeks and months if you are a regular with the coupon cutting!) You may have food items which mean you need only buy one extra ingredient to make a meal instead of buying everything from scratch, thus using less of your budget. If in doubt, check AllRecipes.com as you simply put in any ingredient you have in mind and you get a whole host of recipes using it. Great for inspiration and also for finding the cheapest recipes.
When you head out to the shops, keep your budget in mind and only take the cash for that. That way you physically cannot buy more than you need, no matter how hungry you are and how good the bakery smells! Taking your card is risky, as is walking down unnecessary aisles. Stick to the list. Only go to the aisle you need, get the item and move swiftly on to the next. Always check for a sale version of the item though, whether it is a one off lowered price or a Buy One Get One Free deal and even if it is not from your regular chosen brand. Write down the price difference next to the items on your list which you have saved on. This is great for inspiration when you look back to see how much you saved that week.
Buy more than one item when they are at rock bottom prices or you have extra coupons. Whilst buying the one cheap item is a saving, it is nothing compared to how much you will save by stockpiling the same item, meaning you won’t have to buy it for several weeks or even months! When budgeting, leave a little extra left over incase of a sale so that you can justify buying 10 tubes of toothpaste at a $1 each!
Shop around! If you have several stores near you then each week try another and see how it affects your budget. Granted you won’t be buying exactly the same items each week, but with the same budget and a similar list you will quickly work out which is better value. Whilst you’re there, check out their sales too. Some stores really push their sales as a way to get and keep new customers whilst others do not, so take advantage where you can.
Overall, remember that you are in charge. If you fancy skipping your budget for a week then eat from your stockpile or just go to the cheapest shop and buy a few bits to turn your pantry goods into meals without worrying about whether or not you could have saved a dollar at the next store over.
This article was contributed on behalf of FreeSamples.me.uk the go to site for UK freebies and samples.