There are weeks, or even months, when it seems like there are more expenses than you planned for. This usually means that your grocery budget gets cut (since it's the most flexible). If you’re on a tight budget, you may wonder how you’re going to be able to buy enough to feed your family. Let’s take a closer look at how to grocery shop on a tight budget.
Take Inventory of What You Have
The first thing you want to do is look through your cabinets and fridge to see what you have on hand. If you’re on a tight budget, you want to make sure you’re using up every bit of food so that you can make your dollars stretch.
Plan a Menu
Once you know what you have on hand, you can plan a menu that utilizes it. For example, if you have a roast in the freezer, you know that one night you can make roast with vegetables and the next night turn the roast into barbecue sandwiches. If you have leftover roast vegetables, you can puree them to make a soup for another night.
Choose Meals That Use Similar Ingredients
You will save money when you plan meals that use the same ingredients. This helps ensure that you’re using up all the ingredients and not wasting food. For example, you might plan to have BLTs one night and then use the leftover lettuce and tomatoes to have salads the next night.
Bulk Up Meals with Rice, Beans, or Pasta
There are so many ways to create inexpensive meals on the cheap. One of the best methods is to bulk up your meals with rice, beans, or pasta. Dried beans, rice, and pasta are all very inexpensive. For example, you might do something very simple like garlic butter egg noodles with French bread or even just rice and beans. With enough seasoning, rice and beans can be a delicious meal.
If you have a Dollar Tree or grocery outlet in your area, start your shopping there. Look to see if they have any of the items on your list and compare the price to your local grocery stores. You may be able to save big on some of the items you need. Also, check your local grocery stores for markdowns on food. If the food is nearing the expiration date, most stores will make the food down a lot. It's fine as long as you use it quickly before the expiration date.
With a bit of planning you can grocery shop on a tight budget. Even on a tiny budget, you can still feed your family. You may not eat like kings and queens, but you will be full and well fed.