My mom just gave me a new cookbook, Delicious on a Dime, and it has gotten me thinking about the average cost of eating at home. Sometimes it seems that it almost is not worth the hassle to cook when you look at that grocery bill every week.
I have been working to reduce the cost of groceries for my household of seven, however, some things are just fixed costs. We will always have to buy dog food and cat food (sometimes we are lucky enough to hit a sale) but for the most part, those are fixed weekly/monthly costs.
One thing I have discovered that really does help cut down the cost (thus yielding more money for lipstick!) is to plan menus in advance. Not only can this save money, but it can also save the daily headache of “what’s for dinner”.
Lately, I have been using a combination of coupons and store brands and sales to compile my menus and grocery list for the week. Depending on where you shop, there is probably either a store card or a discount app or possibly both. I sit down with the app and plan out several meals, making sure to leave flexibility for ‘fend for yourself’ nights and for leftovers.
For example, with a 25% off coupon on rotisserie chicken, I can plan out at least three meals using these fabulous pre-cooked chickens as the base. One night, it can get shredded for tacos, another night diced into a spinach salad, and the third night possibly tossed into ravioli and pesto sauce. Three meals from one chicken!
With a little planning in advance, it is easy to save at least $10 or so per week which can really add up in a year.