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**I know I posted this last January, but thought it would be appropriate to repost again during this pandemic. With tighter restrictions nationwide on where we can go, when and where we can shop, and more time at home – these tips may come in handy.
Here are 7 frugal habits that will over time help you save on your monthly grocery budget. Some of these ideas you may already do, and some may be new. It’s fun to go from room to room in your house and find a frugal action that you have done that has saved you and your family money. See which one of these you can implement into your lifestyle and applaud yourself for the ones you already do.
- Water-Down – Many times soaps and cleaning products can be watered down and still work just as well. Try dish soap for example. Next time you run out, keep the empty bottle. When you bring home a new bottle, pour half of the soap in the old, empty bottle. Now fill them both up to the top with water and gently shake. Try this, and I bet you will find that it cleans just as well and you get double the amount for the same price. Another tip is that if you are able to get a bunch of body wash cheap or free with coupons, save it up and use it as a refill for hand soap dispensers. Products can be used for more than just what they are advertised to do. Think outside the box a little on this one!
2. Buy in Bulk – If you regularly shop at Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s club, then you know the financial benefits of buying in bulk. If there is a brand and product that you love and can’t live without, then be sure to buy in bulk (with a coupon if you can find one!). Don’t have a membership to Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club? That’s ok! Sometimes grocery stores create “family packs” of items that can really help you save too – like on cereal or even produce! Be on the lookout for the generic store brand items packaged in bulk for the most savings. Consider trying a meal plan from one of these stores as well – the shopping list and recipes are included! In fact – I have a FREE menu plan you can download and print over here!
3. Re-purpose – This is one of my favorite frugal habits because of the creativity factor. Look around your house and see what items you can re-purpose that will put a few extra dollars in your pocket. For example, don’t spend money on fancy “chip clips” to keep your chips from going stale. Grab a pack of clothespins from a dollar store instead. They are way cheaper and work just as well to keep chips, cereal, and other bagged food items fresh for less.
Also, take a look in your recycling bin and look for ways to re-use items. Get your creative juices flowing for this one. One fun idea is to decorate your house using a spaghetti sauce jar!
4. Cut in Half – Do you have any paper products around the house that you can literally cut in half? For example full-size paper towels, paper napkins, disposable cloth dust wipes, dryer sheets, or disposable cloth eye make-up removers. Can you get the job done by using half of a sheet or cloth instead? This can really help you not waste a product that is probably one often used in your house. Cutting paper napkins in half sounds like a very tedious job. But if your kids are old enough to use scissors, this is a great chore for them to do!
5. Substitute – Next time you try a new recipe, see if there are any ingredients that you can substitute with what you already have on hand. Salad dressing for example is a common condiment that coupon users probably have multiples of in their stockpile shelf. Instead of just using this on salads – try using it as a marinade for roasted vegetables or meat dishes.
Another substitute is one I mentioned earlier – to use body wash in the hand soap dispenser. I tend to find great coupon deals on body wash more frequently than hand soap – and they both are great for washing hands!
6. Eat less meat – Do you have a bunch of vegetarian meals that you can use for a “meatless Monday” dinner each week? You don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy delicious vegetarian meals. Cutting out meat just once a week from your menu is a great frugal habit to help cut back on your grocery budget. Check out these 31 different Quinoa recipes for some inspiration!
7. Spending Freeze Week – Implement a Spending Freeze Week every few months where the rule for your family that week is that you may not spend any money unless it is for a budgeted monthly expense (like your electric bill) or on groceries like fresh produce or dairy products with a shorter shelf life. That will force you to be more creative with your menu planning and you will use up and eat what you already have. Unless we force ourselves to use up what we have stocked in our homes, it will just keep sitting on our shelves and be a waste. By doing this, you may also create a new family favorite recipe. Necessity is the mother of invention! See this post for more info on implementing a spending freeze.
What about you? Other than clipping coupons, what are some of your favorite frugal habits that have really helped you save on your grocery bill? Let’s all collaborate on our ideas and help each other stretch that dollar! Come join the conversation over here in our Budget Challenge Facebook Group!