Our family is having a season of breaking. First, our riding lawn mower died, then, our washing machine ( the third one in FOUR years!!), then our push mower decided to stop running, and finally, a front coil spring on our van broke sending it to the shop for a week! When you live on a shoestring budget our "rainy day" fund didn't have the funds to replace everything, so we've borrowed money from different parts of our budget to afford some of the repairs. One of the places we've taken money from is our grocery budget. Our current grocery budget is $250.00 plus another $100 for household needs for a total of $350. Here's how we're making it work.
1. As soon as you realize your grocery budget is going to be drastically reduced take inventory of your freezers, refrigerator, garden, and pantry. Write down everything you have and how much you have.
2. Make an extended menu plan. I made a month long menu plan based around what we had on hand.
3. Don't forget to include breakfast, lunch, and snacks!!
4. Set a rotating breakfast and lunch schedule so you can eliminate thinking about what to fix.
5. If you have a garden, check it daily for things that need to be picked and consumed. Thankfully, we have two large gardens so our snacks have been tons of fresh picked strawberries!
6. If you've wanted to eliminate bad habits such as coffee, drinking pop, or buying junk food now is the time! Your new budget can't handle buying those things.
7. Start a price book. This is the time to know exactly where the cheapest stores are. Don't put it off-this can make a huge difference in your budget!!
8. We are a gluten free family. Right now we can't afford any special gluten free flours so we're eating "naturally" gluten free: meats, veggies, and fruits.
9. Don't acquire any animals thinking they will reduce your grocery budget. We have dairy goats, laying hens, and meat chickens. They don't really reduce the budget though because we have to buy feed for them. The farm has it's own separate budget. My laying hens pay their way with the eggs I sell and thankfully, right now the goats are "free" because they're on pasture.
10. Our budget is pretty tight for a family of seven. We're doing okay but once my stockpile of oats, sugar, cocoa, etc starts running out it's going to be hard. Our plan is to take some scrap metal in and sell off some old camera equipment to give us some "bonus" money to start replacing them.
What are some ways you save money on your grocery budget?