As the person who does 95% of our food shopping in my household, I cannot get over the cost of food right now. At the beginning of the pandemic, I regularly spent approximately $200 a week on groceries for our family of four. And it was easy to stick with our family budget.
Are You Kidding Me?
Flash forward to now and it literally costs $12.99 for the package of bacon that I used to purchase for $5.99! With inflation on the rise, I want to share some of the ways that I have been keeping our food budget lower (yes, I said the b word–budget!).
I know that budget isn’t a popular word right now but I think that we can all use a little help combating the steep cost of inflation during a pandemic. Trying to buy food your family wants to eat while keeping costs down is a challenge even on the best of days.
How Will I Ever Remember That?
I have always checked out the weekly circulars that end up in my mailbox every Tuesday. The problem is that the information about what was on sale where, went out of my head very quickly. I would constantly head to a store and forget what was on sale. After finding a few sale items, I would buy everything else full price.
A few months ago, I started drawing a line down the middle of a post-it note. I write the name of two competing grocery stores on each side of the line and list each sale item that I am interested in purchasing below the name of the store. I keep this list in my wallet and I literally know every sale item of interest with a quick glance at my post-it note. This one, simple list has saved us so much money and kept us on budget.
Pick Price-Where Have You Been All My Life?
Another way to save money on groceries is to shop with the pick price in mind. I have a friend who is an amazing budgeter and she told me that the price of an item will go to its lowest price once every twelve weeks. For example, my husband’s coffee pods are usually $8.99 for a pack of 12. I now stock up every twelve weeks and only pay $4.99 per pack!
I also shop what is on sale and plan our meals around it. I stock up on our favorite meats when they go on sale and then freeze them. I keep my favorite brand name turkey, chicken and ground beef on hand and build the meals around them.
Remember the $12.99 Bacon?
Our favorite bacon was on sale for $3.99, normally $12.99. I bought the four they had in the store and I asked for a raincheck for the other one. I saved $45 on the five packs of bacon!
Raincheck sounds like a word from the 70’s but yes, you can still ask for a raincheck! I have always felt a little awkward asking for them so I would avoid it. Recently, I was able to find large bags of Chex Mix (one of my husband’s favorite snacks) for only 99¢ compared to the regular price of $5.99. However, they only had a few in stock. I ended up asking the cashier for a rain check because it was such an amazing deal and now I do it regularly. It takes 2 minutes and saves me a lot when I stock up ($25 dollars saved on the five bags of Chex Mix!).
Oh, How Life Has Changed!
I literally spend less than 20 minutes looking through the circulars and writing down the deals. I also use my club card every time I shop at the stores that offer it and I click the digital coupons on the store’s app before I start shopping. Click a coupon and save money. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
In a time when grocery prices are rapidly increasing, my grocery bill has actually fallen. I treat it like a game. Clearly my life has changed when I get a rush from the cashier congratulating me for saving 50% on my groceries but as a mom with a mortgage, two college funds and a strong desire to continue our Schramm Family Fun Days, I am here for it! I love that B-word!