Food Smarts

How to stick to a grocery budget

According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2018, Americans spent an average of 5 percent of their disposable income on groceries. Now that the nation is in the midst of a pandemic, that percentage is certainly increasing. Perhaps, during this time of increased home cooking, you’ve found yourself struggling to budget for groceries. Here are some ways to do just that.

Meal Plan

The Department of Agriculture says that a family of four (with kids aged 6 to 11) should spend about $254 per week on groceries. That’s a lot. One way to cut that down is to plan your meals in advance. Each Sunday, sit down and plan out a week’s worth of meals. Check your fridge and cabinets for foods that you already have and try to form meals from those foods. This structure will help you to only buy what you need when grocery shopping.

Create Lists

Now that you have a meal plan, create a list from it. Make sure to include items from your house that are close to being empty. US News reports that a good rule of thumb is to replace items that are two-thirds empty.

Use The Savings

Chances are the grocery store you visit has a rewards program. Sign up for it. These rewards programs will save you money. If there’s no rewards program, search for coupons and use those. Better yet, do both. The Sunday paper is still a really good source of coupons in many towns. Every little bit you save will add up.

Be Smart

If you’re ordering groceries online, make sure you’re hitting the minimum order amount to avoid delivery fees. That should be easier to do if you’re ordering just once per week.

Chris O'Shea

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