Higher education is expensive y’all, and seminary is no exception, so we are always looking for ways to save money these days. Over the almost two years we’ve been at Southern so far, I’ve learned some tricks to staying within (and some weeks under) our grocery budget. I love saving money on groceries because it make Nate happy and it also makes me feel like I’m being a good steward of what the Lord has blessed us with.
I’m no money-saving guru or anything, but these are tricks that have helped us. Hopefully they’ll help you too!
- Make a budget. It sounds so simple and dumb, but it really helps me save money when I know I have a certain amount to use. Plus, it’s so satisfying when I end up not using my whole budget one week, and I happily tell Nate I saved us some cash. Also, when you first come up with a grocery budget, be flexible with it. When we first got married we came up with a certain amount for groceries each week, but that has changed as we’ve learned how much food we need for each week and such.
- Use cash. This is another weird thing that works well for me. At the beginning of the week, I’ll withdraw the amount of our budget in cash, and then I’ll use it to pay when I go grocery shopping. That way I have visual reminder of how much I have to work with and I don’t spend it as easily. I know you can just go online and see your bank account, but this extra step has helped me stay in budget.
- Variety is key. Shopping at a variety of grocery stores has helped us stay in/under our grocery budget each week. Some stores have better prices on certain things than others, plus it’s fun to have a variety. I know this doesn’t work for everyone and I respect that, but variety works for us right now. We shop at: Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and occasionally Target. My favorite is Aldi for most of our weekly grocery essentials, because they just have super awesome low prices (We’re talking a gallon of milk for $.95 and eggs for $.89. Wow! Prices change from week to week, but Aldi is the most consistent with lowest prices). My family always shopped at Aldi when I was growing up, so I learned to love it from a young age. I know its European style of running things kind of throws people off, but once you get the hang of bagging your own groceries and learning the layout of the store, you’ll love it. I mean, the PRICES people! Trader Joe’s is awesome too, but I love it for different reasons. I love that it offers so many healthier, organic options, as well as lots of fun specialty items. I love Trader Joe’s for its fun, friendly vibes too (that’s why I started working there 😉) Costco is more of an occasional grocery stop for us, but our favorite things from there are their natural peanut butter and bakery items (we had their cheesecakes in our wedding, and boy were they good!). We don’t buy a lot of groceries at Target, but once in a while they’ll have awesome deals with their Cartwheel app that make me want to shop there more. Target is more fun for home decor and clothing and such.
I hope y’all enjoyed reading about what helps us stay within our grocery budget each week. Feel free to leave me a comment with your tricks/tips for staying within your budget. I’d love to hear!