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Thursday, February 13, 2014

How Not To Cry When Grocery Shopping On A Budget

Groceries on a budget
I remember when we first started our budget. I thought $40 a week on groceries, toiletries and household products would be enough. The first few trips were like a game—I would add up each item to make sure I stayed on budget. It was pretty easy. Then we began to run out of things like razor blades, toilet paper, meat in the freezer, and it wasn't a game anymore. There were trips to the grocery store that made me want to cry because I wasn't able to purchase all the things I had on my list, and it seemed like I never was able to get anything extra to build up a pantry.

I'm sure if I had asked for more money my hubby and I would have found a way to get a few more dollars in that account, but I was determined to make it work. Slowly, I got better at knowing what was a good sale and what wasn't. I made some big purchases—like buying enough razor blades for a year—and even went without groceries one week in order to save a lot by buying in bulk. Eventually I was able to build up a little pantry of go-to items, so if one week there was a bigger expense we would still have plenty of food to choose from.

Last summer we raised four chickens and three ducks that currently live in our freezer... um, yeah, they're dead. I also froze zucchini, squash, green and yellow beans, carrots, celery, and pumpkin from my garden. Having those frozen veggies has been a huge help this winter because I'm able to use my frozen vegetables instead of buying canned ones. I've also been able to build up a good supply of frozen meats as I have found them on sale throughout the year.

I still only shop with $40 a week, but over a year later it has become much easier. I no longer feel like crying when I go to get everything on my list, because I know if I can't purchase something one week I have plenty at home to make up for it, and I can always get it next week.

So, if you are new to budgeting, and groceries or something else seems impossible to buy, just stick with it. You may have to increase your budget some because you didn't take into account all that you were going to need to purchase, but, then again, maybe you just need some more practice. Maybe you will have to choose to cut back on store bought snack food and frozen dinners in favor of homemade. It can work, and saving money on groceries can help a lot with paying off debt and living debt free.

Keep pinchin' :-)