Before becoming a stay at home mom, I could grab whatever I wanted at the store, without having to worry about how much I was spending. Now, I meticulously budget and meal plan for my family, in order to save money. Check out my article, “20 insanely cheap dinner ideas when you’re on a tight budget“, for some great meal ideas! Below are some tips on ways to prevent overspending at the grocery store!

1. Plan Your Meals For the Week

I cannot tell you how much meal planning has helped out with our budget. My husband gets paid on a weekly basis, so I meal plan once a week. If I start running out of meal ideas, I head over to Pinterest for some new recipes from fellow bloggers. Pinterest always has new recipes to try! It is important to plan not only dinners, but breakfast, lunch, and snacks, as well. We have saved so much money by sending lunch with my husband vs. him buying fast food every day. It’s much healthier, too! Sit down and write out a list of what you plan to serve each day. This will help keep you organized.

2. Make Your Shopping List

Once you have figured out exactly what your family will be eating for the week, you need to make a shopping list. A list will help keep you on track at the store. For whatever reason, this one took me a while to get the hang of. I got so used to shopping for whatever I wanted and didn’t need a shopping list. So when I first started, I would always forget my list at home. #nailed it.

¬†Figure out the ingredients for each meal and determine what you already have in the house. If you’re lacking a certain item, write it down. Make you a list and stick to it!

3. Never Go Shopping on an Empty Stomach

I saw a funny meme the other day that said, “Accidentally went grocery shopping on an empty stomach, now I’m a proud owner of aisle 6”. This couldn’t be more true!

When I was a kid, I remember being so excited to go grocery shopping with my dad because he would always take me out to eat beforehand. He has always said, “Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Otherwise, you will end up buying too much”. This is a real thing, y’all. You may think I’m kidding, but seriously, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!

4. Take Advantage of Coupons and Grocery Apps

Hear me out on this one. I know cutting coupons can be tedious and annoying. BUT if you pair those coupons with weekly store sales and grocery apps like Ibotta and CheckOut 51, you will not only save money, but actually earn money! I was so proud the first time I received a check from Ibotta. It is super simple to use and if you pay attention, a lot of times, the apps give you cash back on items that are currently marked down at the store. I don’t know why everyone isn’t using it, to be honest! You can also make money for referring friends and family. To get Ibotta, download from Google Play Store- my referral code nomjkhh

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Generic

Sometimes, you will find that generic brands are 20-30% cheaper than name brand products. We live in a small town, so Walmart is pretty much my go-to store. If you were to take a peek into my fridge and pantry, you’d find almost all Great Value brand products. To be perfectly honest, I have yet to find a Great Value product that doesn’t taste like the name brand. Buying generic will absolutely save you some money!

6. Try Eating Less Meat

At our house, we save quite a bit of money on eating vegetarian 2-3 times per week. Whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You’d be amazed how much this will cut your grocery bill down as well as help the environment. Start small with maybe one vegetarian meal per week; Meatless Monday! Check out the recipes section of RSM for vegetarian meals.

7. Carry Cash Only

This is another one of those tricks my dad taught me, growing up. If you meal plan and make a shopping list, you should have a pretty good idea how much your total will be. When you know you have only a certain amount of cash on hand, you will be less likely to grab extra things that you don’t necessarily need.

That’s a wrap! Comment below if these tips have helped you save money.