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How I’m Better Budgeting (For Groceries)

While I know a lot of us are tired of hearing about things like inflation and a pending recession, it’s not helpful to just ignore these issues in hopes that they will go away or not impact you. Now, I’m also not saying to respond with panic, but like any situation, the earlier you can work to get ahead of things, the better. No one likes feeling unprepared.

That being said, one of the recent conversations Stephen and I have had is around budgeting, and how budgeting is more important now than ever. I’ve shared in a previous blog post on changes we’ve made in how we handle our money, and while we still do those things, our weekly budget became a lot looser than normal. I should preface this by saying that because I have a variable income, we made our weekly budget based on a “worst-case scenario” for what I’m making. Historically though I have made above this, so our weekly budget ends up having a lot more flexibility (hence why it became looser than the previously designated amount). But given the current economy, we decided that now is the time that we need to be more aware of what we are spending, and it honestly is good that we are doing this regardless of inflation because it is an important financial habit to keep up with.

With all that to say, one of our biggest weekly expenses is food. Whether it’s groceries or going out to eat – that is where a lot of our money goes. So aside from being more mindful of going out to eat during the week (and seeing where it fits into our budget), I also wanted to make better use of the money we spend on groceries. So often I go to the store and just buy “whatever looks good.” I mean, why not?! It’s cheaper than going out to eat, so isn’t that good enough?! Not exactly.

So one thing that I’ve been doing is on Sunday I will assess all the food we currently have and then outline dinner for the entire week based on that inventory, and then think of what else I need to get at the store. Meaning, picking up food that can be used with items we currently have and can be used for various different meals throughout the week. For example, this week I saw that we had rice, potstickers, Banza pasta, and sauce at home. So I outlined dinners (write them down!!) based on those items and then also added chicken to my list so we could add some grilled chicken to the pasta, but then also use it for tacos later in the week for another meal.

I understand this is not rocket science by any means but it’s been helpful to me so I figured I’d share. Also, keep in mind that I am not great in the kitchen so I’m never really planning meals as is. But, for the sake of our finances, I figured I could start. It basically comes down to buying items that you can use for several meals so nothing goes to waste and you aren’t having to buy so many different items, to begin with. So whether it’s chicken for a salad at lunch and then chicken tacos for dinner, or avocado for your AM toast, then using again for chicken tacos that night – find ways to repurpose what you’re already buying across different meals.

Other things I now do are just get the items on my list, I won’t browse to see “what looks good” (and if this is harder for you, grocery delivery or pick up can be a good option so you’re not tempted to just throw whatever in your cart). I also am more open to buying different brands. For example, when it comes to things like my iced coffee and bread I always buy the same brands. But when another brand is on sale for half the price of my usuals, I can make an exception. I will survive if I don’t have Stok iced coffee for now haha.

Anyway – I just wanted to share some small habits I’ve been implementing and the little things I’m paying more attention to. Again, not rocket science but sometimes we need reminders of the most obvious things! xx

does one of your girlfriends need to hear this? Share away…

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