How do I save money when I’m not even the best at budgeting for life in general? If you ask anyone who knows me, I’m fantastic at SPENDING. Horrible at SAVING.
Life has a funny way of slapping you in the face one day letting you know whose boss and let me tell you.. it’s your wallet! If you are like most of American’s, you are living paycheck to paycheck. It’s a struggle and many people will tell you “That’s just the way life is”, but I refuse to believe that. I’m sure you, like myself, want the best for our families. Who wouldn’t?
I have dreams of taking Smudge to Disneyland as many times as he wants to go, traveling to Scotland and Australia, even buying that cute new outfit I saw in that one store somewhere, that one time. So…I decided to learn how to budget.
I started off taking our bank statement from the month before and breaking down each category.. Grocery’s, Restaurants, Vehicle, Home, Misc. One of the largest categories you ask? Eating out and Grocery’s! We spent over $700 a month in gas station snacks, McDonald’s drive thru’s, and groceries. Disgusting.
The minute I saw that, my mind raced with everything I could do with that $700. The bills I wouldn’t have to worry about… my heart ached. That was it. No more, I told myself. We cut down our eating out budget to $50. Then I spent hours searching the internet on how to budget our groceries, and let me tell you, I learned a lot.
The best way for my family was meal prep. We used to go to the store and just throw things in the cart. No meal’s in mind, no ingredients, just whatever looked good. But that lead to no planning and more “we have no food, let’s just grab something”. I’m not the best cook and I hated cooking in general. But I learned for the sake of saving much-o $$$.
Anyway, let us get down to business…
You are going to laugh at how simple this is…
- I choose each meal with a purpose. I search Pinterest and find meals that looked appealing. Which is hard for me since I’m such a picky eater! But you learn to expand your pallet to switch things up! Mac N Cheese only sounds good for so long.
- Write down the ingredients to each meal. You’ll find that most meals actually use the same ingredients and planning ahead makes it easy to see what you already have at home. No need for those fancy shamncy fridges that show you what’s in them while at the store! (Even though do I love Dax Sheppard and Kristen Bell in those commercials! Are they not the cutest?!)
- I then use Fred Meyer (Kroger) Click List and shop online. That way I can see each price for each item and buy according to the best deal. This allows me to not rush through the grocery store eliminating the fact of possibly not grabbing the things I need. And ONLY BUYING THE THINGS I NEED! (Wanting is different)
By planning meals for each day it made it easy to not question what we were having. The printable I made to help us out is below! If you haven’t guessed by now I’m a pretty visual person. I suggest planning and shopping on Sunday’s that way the entire week is laid out ahead of you!
Meal prepping and buying with a purpose helped me take my grocery bill from $180-$200 a week to $80-$90! Think of what you could do or bills you could pay with that extra money?!
Try it out and let me know what you think!!