Grocery Shopping On A Budget – 5 Actions You Should Apply Today

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Let’s admit the obvious. Times are hard. From the highest government official to the freshman college student, everyone is looking for areas in their life where they can “cut back” on spending. The fact remains, we must eat to survive, and ballers on a budget love to eat good. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, over-spending and overeating can lead to a multitude of problems which I can’t get into with the space provided. Alternately, here are 5 things you need to start practicing now in order to gain control of over-spending on food.

1) Make A List

It may not seem baller to be walking around the grocery store with a list in your hand, however, admitting that you don’t have the best memory in the world and doing something to improve your livelihood is baller. So, make a list and make sure it fits within the grocery budget you have set. ‘Trim the fat’ from the list if it can wait a week. Additionally, if you don’t know how to cook the slightest bit in order to compile a list of food items that can last you a week, you should really pick up a couple basic books on cooking. Back to the list, make sure you stick to it. I know how tempting those powdered donuts are outside the milk cooler. They’re there for a reason, don’t give in.

2) Cut Coupons

Again, walking around with an envelope full of coupons doesn’t seem baller. But believe me when you have money to purchase new boots and can still eat, it feels good. So cut coupons. Every legal resident gets coupons in the mail. In addition, check your local paper and the advertisements in-store. Good sources of printable coupons online are CoolSavings.com and SmartSource.com. Some sites ask you to fill out surveys in order to receive more savings. However, I personally don’t have time to fill out online surveys, therefore cannot vouch for the programs. The sites with quick, no hassle, instantly printable coupons are my suggestion.

3) Slow Down On The Booze

I could’ve saved this tip for last, but I wanted to keep your attention. This is important. Alcohol is expensive, and virtually recession proof. The harder times get, the more people like to intoxicate their troubles away. There’s nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. However, ballers on a budget can’t afford, financially or mentally, to spend their lives intoxicated. Start by only drinking during social gatherings of more than 5. In addition, view other ways to save on alcohol here. Just remember, if booze isn’t on your grocery list, don’t pick it up.

4) Stick To Buying Sale Items

Many practice the art of buying store brand products, as most of the time they are cheaper than name brands. At times, however, the name brands’ sale price is a much better deal, especially if you catch the item on a buy-one get-one (BOGO) sale. Call your favorite grocery store and ask the manager when their sale items begin. One major retailer begins all sale items on Wednesday and they run through Tuesday. This is why I suggest going to the store weekly. One week you may find a great deal on BOGO tomato sauces which can be used in a variety of pasta dishes and the next week the pasta may be on sale. The week following pork chops may be on BOGO. However, remember to stick to your list. If you don’t need meat, don’t grab it just because it’s on sale.

5) Take A Calculator

Again, I realize that grocery shopping with calculators and notepads don’t seem baller, but believe me, knowledge is baller. Taking notes on prices and keeping a tally of your items gives you power over impulse purchases. In addition, you’ll spend less time in the store by going prepared. Know exactly what you need, how much you’re willing to spend, and take a calculator so that you stay on track.

Grocery shopping on a budget is an art. You will not get it right the first time. Many go slightly over budget mainly due to not calculating taxes or forgetting to add something to the list and not ‘trimming the fat’ when it’s realized. As well, some stores are better for purchasing some products over others. Multiple stops on the same day of the week may seem like a pain, but if thoughtfully planned can be fun and save money. Keep all these things in mind when grocery shopping and don’t be afraid to arm yourself with the tools necessary to shop as ballers on a budget do.


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Penny Ray

Penny Ray is President and COO of BallersOnBudgets.com. He also writes freelance for multiple online and print publications on the topic of personal finance. In 2010 he was selected as a Savings.com DealPro.

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  • 3 comments for “Grocery Shopping On A Budget – 5 Actions You Should Apply Today

    1. SOUR
      November 19, 2009 at 5:18 pm

      Don’t forget… Never go grocery shopping HUNGRY, WASTED or EMOTIONALLY DISTRAUGHT. Any of those will lead to impulse buys that you have not budgeted for.

    2. racegirl2056
      December 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      I went to the grocery store hungry one time and learned that I will never do that again…Also, making a list is the best thing.

    3. Erin G.
      December 3, 2009 at 8:49 am

      All fantastic ideas; I like how you’re updating the notion of “baller” to mean intelligent and economically savvy. You’re right, although making multiple stops can be a pain, just try buying your paper/hygiene/non-food goods at Wal-Mart instead of Publix once and see how much you save; it’s absolutely worth it, especially in this town where you most likely won’t have to drive very far from a Publix to a Wal-Mart. I live by myself and find it tough to shop for only one person without ending up throwing out old food. I’ve started utilizing my freezer to the max. If chicken breasts or pork chops go on sale I snag them up and freeze each one individually. I can thaw out and cook what I need when I need it without making extra food that may go to waste. You can also freeze things like fresh herbs, sauces, and pre-chopped veggies. Seriously, taking the time to do this saves major time and money in the future. And be realistic about produce; if you honestly don’t think you’ll consume a whole bunch of grapes or bag of baby carrots before they go bad, don’t buy them just because they’re on sale. Kudos, Jason!

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