The majority of individuals will likely go through periods where money is tight due to unexpected expenses, a significant life or job changes, medical hardships, inflation/increased prices, and much more! Here are some simple, but not insignificant ways, of stretching your dollars further. Small amounts of savings do add up! Part 1 will focus on food, groceries and dining out.
- Plan your meals for one week ahead, if possible. Be sure to inventory what you already have at home to avoid buying items that you do not need.
- Make a grocery list to cover meals and stick to it! Plan the aisles you will go down when shopping, and try and avoid the others. You can get a store directory ahead of time to plan your route.
- Avoid multiple trips to the grocery store. This counts down on gas and the temptation to buy more than you can afford.
- Comparison shop by cost per ounce/pound, etc.
- Avoid shopping when you are hungry, tired, or in a hurry. Also, try to avoid bringing a number of other people with you.
- Calculate your costs with your phone, or using an app while shopping so there are no surprises at the register.
- Consider ordering groceries online and utilizing curbside pick up to avoid going into the store to prevent buying items you don’t need.
- Buy in bulk the items that you are sure you will use; such as paper products, hygiene products, etc.
- Buy store or generic brands.
- Only use coupons for those items you are sure you will use. Many times, food and groceries are purchased because we have a coupon, but then they are thrown out.
- Plan some meatless meals that are still high in protein (e.g., cheese, peanut butter, legumes).
- Meals do not have to be “standardized”. Kids may love pancakes for dinner!
- Involve the family! Making dishes such as a casserole, lasagna, enchiladas, etc. together on a weekend can produce leftovers for part of the next week.
- Consider growing a family garden of fruits and vegetables. If neighbors grow fruits and vegetables, trade or exchange with them.
- Go to a farmers’ markets.
- Consider discount grocery stores.
- Check out your local dollar stores for items like toothpaste, shampoo, etc.
- Ask for grocery store gift cards for holidays gifts and birthdays.
- Make dining out a treat, and limit to special days.
- Look for establishments that offer specific days when kids can eat free.
- Share meals
- Ask if you can order from the kid’s menu.
- Ask for senior citizen or retiree discounts, if applicable.
- Cut in ½ (or less) the number of times you go out to eat per week (e.g., grabbing coffee, fast food, lunches).
- Don’t order beverages or alcohol when dining out. Eat dessert at home, or just go out for dessert.
Would you like to work on your individual budget plan with one of our knowledgable counselors? Contact Parachute today to schedule a one on one appointment! 716-712-2060 https://parachutecreditcounseling.org/services/credit-budget-counseling/#financial-coaching