Now that we are attempting to eat at home more, we're realizing that we need to also plan the grocery shopping to take advantage of the deals and save extra money. The first step, from eating out to eating home, reduced our budget quite a bit, but now we'd like to take it further.
Since I have no clue what a grocery budget for a family of four should be, I'm making a lot of this up as I go along. I do the vast majority of our grocery shopping at Kroger since it's the closest to the house and they typically have the best deals on things we use.
Even so, we've been finding lots of good ideas for saving additional money:
- Plan ahead. You've probably seen my whole Meal Planning Monday adventure. It is seriously helping with the shopping to know what we're going to eat and to just buy what we need. This week's meals? I already have most of the items, just need a few side veggies, some bell pepper and the regular perishable items I buy weekly for the four of us.
- Shop late. Our Kroger marks down a lot of items later at night. We'll often stop on the way home late because they dramatically reduce prices for fresh baked good and fresh deli goods in the evening. I simply can't beat $3 for 8-10 pieces of fried chicken or $2 for a dozen donuts for breakfast.
- Check the markdown areas. We are big fans of the bakery overstock for quick birthday cakes and the meat department specials for our big freezer full of meat. I typically buy all my meat to freeze anyhow, so extra deep sale prices are fine with me to put it straight into the freezer.
- Watch the weekly specials. Kroger runs a lot of "buy x items, save an extra $x money". Frequently, it's items we buy anyhow, so we can stock up on a few extra boxes of crackers or cereal to make the deal work. You do have to buy 5 or 10 items (mix and match, of course), but we've found it to be a pretty savings. And it's quite nice to know that we have extra food in the pantry stash.
- Take advantage of the store card. A lot of the deals are in conjunction with using the (free) store card. You can also download coupons right onto Kroger's card from their website to save you additional money. I am very bad about clipping and using coupons, so electronic storage is right up my alley!
- Check out the store brands. We are pretty happy with a *lot* of Kroger's in-house brands, including milk and eggs, cheese, chips, cereals, and a whole lot more. As a bonus, you save an additional bit of money when you buy their brands and use your shopper card. Every little bit helps!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms Kroger CartBuster blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.