Create a Grocery Budget.
Knowing how to create a grocery budget will help you save money. Do you want to lower your grocery bill and avoid paying high prices for groceries every time you shop? One very important thing that you need to do if your goal is to lower your grocery bill is to set a grocery budget.
Not just any budget, but a realistic budget. You can’t simply pick a random number out of thin air and determine that you will start using that number as your new grocery budget. You need to do a bit of research first.
Why do you need a grocery budget?
A budget allows you to track what you are spending and gives you boundaries – which is a good thing. If you don’t have boundaries, you are likely to overspend, buying much more than you can actually afford. That ultimately leads to debt, and I’m sure you know that debt is never a good thing to have.
Look over your past purchases
Think back to the last few times you went grocery shopping. Do you remember how much you spent? If not, you may need to track your spending for the next 4-8 weeks to get an average of what you are spending on groceries each week.
Hopefully you are keeping your receipts so you can easily access this information. If not, start now. You can dispose of these receipts once you have added them to your budget spreadsheet.
What to include in your grocery budget
What you include in your grocery budget will vary from person to person and from family to family. Some people consider groceries to be food and beverages only, while others (like myself) consider groceries to be just about everything – food, beverages, diapers, pet food, household items (such as laundry soap), beauty products (such as shampoo), etc.
This is a personal preference, so decide what you think will work best for you. Keep in mind that if you do decide that groceries will only be food and beverage purchases, you will need to have another budget for health, beauty, pet, baby and household items.
Ignore what others are doing
Your grocery budget is going to look different from mine. It’s going to look different from your friend’s. It’s going to look different from your neighbor’s.
We all have different needs, so no one’s grocery budget is going to look the exact same. Don’t look at what someone else is spending and assume that you need to spend the same amount. You don’t. After researching what your family will have to spend to buy the groceries you need, that is the only number you need to worry about.
Lower your grocery budget little by little
Let us say that you spend an average of $200 on groceries each week. Goal number one for you would be to spend only $200 the next week. The week after that, aim for $190, then $180.. slowly getting your budget lower and lower, until it gets to an amount that you are comfortable with, and can afford.
Don’t try to chop off a big chunk of your budget right away. It’s much easier to shave off just little bits at a time.
Give your grocery budget some wiggle room
You should always have a little bit of wiggle room in your budget, just in case you have to buy something that is not on sale, you are overcharged at the store and didn’t catch it, the price of your favorite brand of cheese goes up… you never know what is going to happen, so always give yourself some room to breathe.
After you have determined what your grocery budget is going to be, add another $10-$20 per month as wiggle room. Just in case. If you don’t need it one month, carry it forward to the next month. At the very end of the year, if you still have money left over, use it to stockpile groceries that you are running low on.
If you really want to lower your grocery bill, creating a budget is one step you don’t want to skip. Remember to keep this budget in mind every time you are out shopping for groceries, and always aim to only spend what you have budgeted for the week.
After you have been using a grocery budget for a few weeks, it will become much easier to stick to that allotted amount for groceries, and you never know – you may actually enjoy sticking to a budget (I personally find it to be a fun game!).