Ballin’ On A {Grocery} Budget

Ballin’ On A {Grocery} Budget

Let’s face it- times are tough. One of the biggest price hikes to affect everyone is groceries. Shopping for a family of 7 on a budget has become quite a task. Somehow, I’m managing, so I’m going to share a few of my (not so) secrets.


I never, and I mean never, go grocery shopping without making a menu for the time period for which I’m shopping. For our family, that time period is two weeks at a time. I plan each day out ahead of time so that I know exactly for what I’m shopping. I do include nights out, special occasions, and leftover nights, as well, so that I don’t overbuy. We all know that nothing lasts forever. This brings me to my next helpful secret.


I never step into the store without knowing what I’m there for. If I walk in without a list, I walk out with a bunch of things I didn’t need, and I’ll have nothing to make a complete meal.  I make extensive lists for grocery shopping. I include every ingredient, every side item, every snack, every drink, every everything. Not only does this keep me on track, but it helps me to judge about how far my budget will go. I rarely deviate from my list because the second I do, I blow my budget. By making a list, I avoid shopping every day or every few days. This saves a ton!

Ballin’ On A {Grocery} Budget

No Junk Allowed

I’m not cruel. I buy my kids snacks. I also limit my purchasing of them and try to keep them relatively healthy. I rarely buy junk food. Not only does this keep spending down, but it helps my children to eat consciously. If they earn something, we will go out for it. There are plenty of local bakeries and ice cream shops that appreciate our support.

Store Brand Items

Whenever possible, I buy store brand items. In most cases, the ingredients are very similar- and sometimes identical. Often times, they are produced in the same factories by the same companies. Store brands are often a good bit cheaper than name brands, and that savings adds up. I’ve saved over $100 in a single trip by buying strictly store brands. There are a few items, however, that I just can’t buy store brands. This Lafayette girl needs her Community Coffee and Evangeline Maid bread.

I Shop Alone

I know it’s difficult, but I always shop alone. This helps me to stick to my list and budget. I don’t have anyone asking for anything. Nobody is tossing things into the buggy. Nobody complains about store brand versus name brand. I can make decisions about purchases and figure out the cost effectiveness of buying bigger packs. It really helps me to focus on my budget.

Ballin’ On A {Grocery} BudgetShop the Sales

I know this seems obvious, but I browse the coupons and weekly sale paper for my favorite grocery store before I even make a menu. This helps me to plan cost effective meals. It helps me to make a list that is appropriate for the shopping trip. It limits on the spot decisions, which helps me maintain the budget. For instance, if chuck roast is on sale this week, and the sale price per pound is cheaper than ground meat, I will buy the roast and grind it myself. Obviously that requires a little more work, but it’s worth the savings. Additionally, I always bulk buy items on major sales. Recently, frozen chicken breasts were on sale for 1/3 of their regular price. I had chicken breast on my list anyway. I had planned to pay full price (this wasn’t in the sale paper), so instead of saving the money, I bought 3 bags for the price of one. This way, I have to buy less when it’s full price. This is the only way I buy my coffee.

Plan Ahead

I always try to plan for big events well ahead of time. If there is a birthday or holiday coming up, I begin adding the nonperishable items to my list well in advance. Spreading it over many trips helps to keep my budget in tact. I don’t freak out at the last minute when the grocery bill is way over budget.

Stick to the Plan

It’s not always easy, especially in the beginning, to force yourself to be strict when shopping. It does get easier, and it is worth it. I used to be afraid to hold up the line with coupons. I used to be too nervous to ask if something didn’t ring up at the sale price. I got over that because my family’s bottom line is my priority. Cashiers are often amazed by what I can do on my tight budget. It’s kind of funny now. I make it a game- how far under budget can I land? Ultimately, though, I reach my goal of staying on budget with a large family, and that’s all that matters to me.



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