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If you’ve been around here for a long while, or maybe even a little while, you’ve probably figured out that we enjoy food around these parts. I like shopping for food, I like finding new ways to cook food and I like eating food. Unfortunately, food can get pretty expensive around these parts. Since we don’t want to destroy our budget on food alone, we’ve needed to get crafty.

This is me in 20 years.

A few weeks back, Amelia at One Catholic Mama wrote a post detailing all the ways that she saves money at the grocery store. It was great and really informative – you should definitely check it out. I can tell that she has put a lot more thought into the nutritional density of the food that she and her family eat than I ever have. (Maybe ever will, but who knows what will happen in a few years.) Nevertheless, she’s got great tips for anyone who needs new ideas for keeping their grocery budget under control.

Things We Do Around Here

Even though we’re not nearly as cool as One Catholic Mama, we do have a pretty surefire system for saving money at the store – without using coupons*. Isn’t that neat? Of course it is!

  • Make a list.

If you’re feeling fancy, you could use a list like this.

Making a list seems like such a simple way to avoid spending too much money at the grocery store, but sometimes I feel lazy. Still, making a list – I even break it down by section when I’m feeling fancy – helps you stay on track.

  • Meal plan for dinner.

For the longest time, I tried to make a weekly meal plan for every meal (plus snacks). After awhile, I realized that that whole process was annoying and not at all realistic for my own eating habits. Nowadays, I make a meal plan for dinner and keep staples in the house for breakfast and lunch.

  • Stagger bigger purchases.

Wall of Beer.

The most expensive things we buy are paper products, beer and personal care items. (Toothpaste and lotion aren’t cheap, yo.) In order to avoid blowing $200 dollars on toilet paper and Miller Lite, we try to stagger these biggest purchases across different weeks.

  • Buy the store brand.

…you know, unless you really hate the store brand.

  • Hunt out free meals.

Finally, we save quite a bit of money on groceries by being as opportunistic as possible with the free meal train. Parents in town? Great! Luncheon at the ABA? Even better. Thankfully, we’re lucky that we’re still young enough that nobody gives us the side eye when we partake of the free food. As an added bonus, I volunteer a lot more if they’re going to feed me.

*We have the store loyalty card, which is sort of like a coupon, but it requires less work.