La Compra is no joke! Did you know you should spend no more than 15% of your take-home pay on food and household cleaning supplies? Keeping your monthly grocery expense down can be a challenge, especially if you find yourself aimlessly wandering through el mercado with out a plan. Here are 10 easy to implement steps to put you in control of la compra.
1. Use A Weekly Menu to Plan Your Grocery List
I cannot function without a weekly menu. If I don’t plan out our weekly menu, I find myself staring down my pantry with no earthly idea of what we’re reating for dinner. The dinner dilemma, can really make your food expenses spiral out of control. When you don’t have a plan it’s really easy to throw your hands in the air and just order out.
When I first started this practice, I only planned dinner, but I found myself eating lunch out because I wasn’t accounting for it in my grocery list. Now, I plan BLD…breakfast, lunch, and dinner and life is much easier and I am not as tempted to grab a bite out to eat for lunch.
2. Plan Meals Out
We often have a day or two a week where we have to do lunch out. Make sure you account for them in your weekly menu so you don’t over buy on produce and meats that might spoil.
3. Shop Your Pantry First
Have you ever gone to the supermarket and bought something you THOUGHT you were out of to only find out that your pantry was full stocked?
Shop your pantry so that you don’t end up stocking up like the zombie apocalypse is coming…though if you are planning, please send me your address because we are not and our life expectancy is not looking so good.
4. Don’t SWH (Shop While Hungry)
Eat before you shop or take a snack along for the ride. You do not want to go hungry, especially with all of the wonderful deli items available for easy consumption. It’s amazing how everything looks delicious, even if it’s in a can or box, when you’re o
5. Leave The Kids (And Your Husband) At Home
If I go shopping with my entourage we always, ALWAYS spend more money. The worst of the bunch? My husband, hands down. Now that I’m a mom, I find that a trip alone to the store is almost like a mini-vactaion!
6. Buy Seasonal Produce
Shopping for oranges in December? Yeah, they’re probably coming from far away and has all the freight expenses included in the pricing. Check out this seasonal fruit and veg tool from Real Simple to help you plan your meals. Try shopping local farmer’s markets to shop both seasonally and locally!
7. Stick To The List (And Don’t Go Aisle by Aisle)
Follow your list and hit aisles that correspond to your needs. Then, hit the outskirts to grab your produce, meats, and frozen foods.
8. There’s Nothing Wrong With Store Brands
You can definitely go generic and save money. Some store brand’s rival the quality and taste of branded foods! Still not sold? Try subbing one or two items at a time and experiment to see if you can tell the differences.
8. Coupons, Coupons, Coupons
I’m not a huge couponer, but when I find them, I do use them! Plan your menu, make your list, and then hop on your handy dandy social media machine…yes, your computer, and find and print coupons for your list.
Because I’ve given up quite a bit of processed foods, it is difficult to find and save with coupons. I do, however, save on my dairy products with coupons.
10. Marinate Your Meats & Freeze
This is another time saver, but I know you’ll love it. I’m notorious for freezing meat and then forgetting to take it out in advance to prep it for a meal and then let it marinate. By marinading before freezing, I can portion out servings, and when I do plan to prepare that meat, it’s marinading as it defrosts!