Do you know how much you’ve spent this week at the grocery?

By Laurie Hise /

Have you determined what your grocery budget really is?  Before you clip even a single coupon, planning how much you want to spend each week at the grocery store will significantly lower your grocery store bill.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

1)  Decide what you’d like to spend each week on groceries.  Consider your family size, the amount of time you realistically have for bargain hunting and couponing, and what you’ve spent over the last three to six months on groceries.

Check out your pantry, take into account what items you’re stocked up on and which items are looking pretty slim, and determine your budget for the future.

2)  Don’t go to the store for one more “deal” if you’ll be tempted to purchase more than you really need.

It’s so easy to see another bargain, head back to the store, and overspend on purchases that aren’t really all that necessary.  What’s even more tempting is to grab one more not-so-great-deal as you go.

So, know what your budget is and stick to it, no matter how great that deal may be.     (I promise, I’ve been a penny-pincher for quite a while and there is always another bargain deal . .  . really!)

3) Remember that you can significantly impact your families financial situation by how much you spend at the grocery store, as the amount of money spent on groceries is one of the few items in your family’s budget that you have complete control over.

It’s not easy to change your mortgage payment, utility bills, telephone charges, or how much you spend filling up on gas for the week.  However, you can change your family’s entire budget by choosing to wisely shop at the grocery store.

Determine what you want to spend, stick to it, and change your family’s budget in the future!

4) Consider changing the way that you live in order to change your grocery budget.
While deal hunting and couponing impact our family’s grocery budget considerably, there are also simple changes that we’ve made to live frugally that significantly decreases how much we spend on groceries each week.

Easy changes like using plastic containers to pack lunches in rather than plastic sandwich bags, wiping up spills with good ole’-fashioned rags instead of paper towels, and skipping out on pre-packaged snacks is a great way to reduce your shopping trip expenses.

These may not work for everyone, but if you really want to change your grocery budget, even a few small changes might help you pinch an extra penny at the grocery store!
Are you ready?  Sit down, consider what’s realistic for your family, and determine to stick to it.  (I promise you can do this, and it really will change your family’s finances!)