I have cut back alot more than usual lately. With buying a new house, selling our old house and us in between both, money is super tight. I am trying not to burdon my husband with high grocery bills. Budget was $500, then went up to $600, and now is back down to $450. Yep, $450 for a month of groceries. I can do it and will do it. Im determined. If I can save money on grocery bills, and relieve my husband of some worries, I will do it. So here is some ways ive been making things stretch further than usual.
1. Cut out meat. Yep, it can be done. Sub with some sort of protein like beans. Instead of meat in our meals 7 days a week, ive cut it down to 4. Ive been incoorporating beans into our meals so no one has even noticed. Beans are way cheaper than meat especially when bought in bulk. Usually .50-.99 cents per pound. Soak, cook for hours, and 1 lb of beans can be used in 5-6 meals.
2. No unhealthy snacks. No chips, prebaked anything, no easy to make box food, etc. Nothing. For snacks we make popcorn in our large pan. For treats, I make cookies. Or seasonal produce is bought.
3. Free is okay with me. Walks, board games, movies, craft time or just playtime listening to music. All this is free. Plus you get family time!
4. Make due with what you have. Yes it would be nice to have a new pair of shoe's. Do I really need them? No. Can I make due till later when we arent in a crunch? Yes. Yes it would be nice to have them but I dont need them. Get creative. Need to clean a stain out of your carpet? Borrow a neighbors cleaner and in return do something for them.
5. No eating out! Even if its a $1 item, its $1 more than you have. You will feel guilty later when you needed that money to buy groceries, plus its almost always unhealthy. Avoid these places and you wont even notice it.
6. Take handouts. Yes, get over it and do it. Give your old items you dont need to others. Its a way of recycling and helping others
7. Family gathering or friends invite? Use what you have. Cookies, cakes, or even dip can easily be made with things around the house. Dont go buy a platter of food (usually $10-$20) just use your prettiest plate and make some yummy cookies. Snickerdoodles are the easiest and a favorite. Plus take little time to do.
8. Cut out uneeded spending. We turned off our dish, and got rid of our land line. $100 back in our pocket every month. Once my cell phone plan runs out, super cheap landline it is. Saving us even more money. Just cut out stuff that you really can live without. Bonus, now days you get more channels on regular tv's. A handfull of public channels, 24/7 kids toons, your regular channels 2, 6, 8, 12 and new ION channels. Plus there are about 4 religious channels too. We dont miss our other channels, just the ability to push the pause button. Oooh how I miss it.
9. Drive less. Walk to places within 2 miles of your home. You get free exercise, and no gas. Less you pay at the pump.
10. Turn down the heat. We have ours at 63 degree's at night and 69 degree's during the day. If its sunny, we just turn ours off all together and turn it back on later. The sun will heat your house, just open all your blinds or drapes.
11. If you need to buy something, buy it 2nd hand. Need extra blankets (since you turned down the heat) you can find these for $2 in thrift stores. Sometimes even less. Need kids shoe's, there are plenty there. Much less than going to the store and buying them new. Tell your friends, and family your in need of whatever it is and that you dont have money to buy them. Usually someone has extra of everything. Same goes for you. Have an extra item, give it to someone who needs it.
12. Hand me downs. Save clothes from older children and hand it down to younger ones. I have a box in each of my girls rooms full of items they need to grow into. All backpacks, shoe's, nicer clothers, lunch box's and things like that are saved in my home. Take good care of them and they will go a long time.
13. Buy food marked down. Yogurts, cheese, meat, and discontinued items are always marked down. Yogurt items are eaten so quickly that you really dont have to worry about it going bad. Meats can be frozen that day for later use. Discontinued items can be incoorporated into meals. Example:After christmas they marked down cornbread stuffing to 99 cents per box. I bought them up and we used them about once a week in our dinner meals. These items wont be around so buy them up if you can budget them in. Things like peanut butter, boxed noodles, dented can's, etc can be used later.
14. Clearance and super sales. After seasonal sales are the best. Christmas stuff like baking items, cranberry sauce, etc are super cheap. Get them while you can. Muffin papers that are christmas are super cheap, who cares if they have designs on them. They just get thrown away. Stuffed animals with christmas hats can be cut off and replaced with a pretty ribbon. Save and use for gifts later. Rethink everything you can. Think how could I use this?
Anyways, I could go on and on about stuff. Just be creative and try to rethink everything possible in your everyday life. You can save money, just rethink stuff and dont spend! lol