Groceries on a Budget

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By Madison VanRavensway

Groceries are easily one of our highest bills, but also one of the places I look first when we need to save. Any place you shop, there are ways to save on groceries.

The best budgeting advice for groceries I’ve heard is $100 per person for month, with a minimum of $200. So if you are a three person household your budget should look like $300 a month. If you are single, still budget $200, although less is certainly always better. I’m aware this doesn’t work for everyone, so if this doesn’t work for you pick a budget that does work!

Aldi is my favorite place to get groceries, but it’s an hour away from me. So even though I can save a LOT on my groceries sometimes it’s not practical for me to get there. Walmart is my second go to, but if all else fails I will shop at Harps. Sams Club has free delivery for plus members so I can order some staples such as flour from there! (Bonus tip: my membership was a Christmas gift so I saved on it also, and my mom and I share it. Ask for it as a gift of split the cost with someone!)

Yes, 7lbs of powdered sugar is a ton, but with the holidays coming up I am all set! I keep it in my freezer.

So how do I save money on groceries? I make as much as I can from scratch. Yes, it takes longer. But, it saves money and is healthier for us than all the additives. I try to keep my pantry stocked with staples for baking- flour, sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and cooking oil. 

Add fillers into your meals- rice and beans, beans and rice. That’s the Dave Ramsey way, but even those not following the financial guru can heed that advice. Potatoes, rice, beans, and lentils beef up a meal without beefing up the cost.

When you are at the grocery store look for yellow tags! Yellow tags are your friends! This is meat that is on clearance, it is not bad meat. It’s a couple days away from the FREEZE by date, which means it needs cooked or frozen after you buy it. Don’t shy away from these, there is nothing wrong with them, the store will just have to throw them away if they do not sale so they have put a discount on them. Shopping early in the morning gets you the best selection on these meats!

Sell by 11/4, saw on 11/1! Lots of time to cook or freeze!

Walmart often discounts overstocked items such as yogurt as well! Check the use by dates before purchasing, but checking those yellow tags can save a lot of money.

Shop the sales ad! Make yourself a list of what you need to keep your must haves stocked, and any good deals that will equal meals. I keep my staples on hand, and buy beef, chicken, and pork when I find it on clearance. Harps has great sales on chicken drumsticks fairly often. Aldi has a fresh meat sale every Wednesday and their prices are always great.

Another thing to keep in mind and build a pantry supply so you aren’t buying things not on sale is one for now, two for later. A step beyond this is know your pricing. I know if I find canned vegetables at 50 cents or less that’s a good deal. So instead of just buying one can and needing another one next time I am at the store I would grab 3. We use one can at a time, if you use more get more. 

Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals! I have went to three stores on several occasions to take advantage of all the sales.

Feeding your family is expensive. It’s sad that once all other bills are paid many will struggle to provide food for their families. But having a plan when you walk in the store and setting a budget is a great starting place.

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; Editor - Resident Press. 20+ years experience in the news.

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