Day 20: How to Maximize Your Food Budget

Happy Saturday everyone! Are you having a good start to your weekend? Today I’d like to share a little strategy for maximizing your food budget, one of the hardest areas of your budget to stay under control.

Here is my strategy for food shopping:

Superstores: Buy stuff in bulk! Toilet paper, coffee, paper towels, toothpaste, paper goods, crackers, pastas, canned tomatoes,and other non-perishable items. We have a membership to a super store and while it may be an expensive trip each time we go, it saves us a lot of money in the long run by stocking up on things that don’t go bad easily.

Grocery Store: This is your basic grocery list: cheese, yogurt, eggs, everyday vegetables, milk, bread, coffee creamer, etc.

Farmer’s Market: When in season, I love to get all of my fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. It is sometimes cheaper than the grocery store (may vary on the market), but is so much better than the fruits and veggies sitting on the produce stands in your grocery store! I also love their fresh flowers! My favorite arrangements come from the Farmer’s Market — colorful and a little wild.

Health Stores: I would love to shop in Earth Fare or Whole Foods all the time, but it just doesn’t make it in my small food budget. So I like to reserve only the special items for health stores, such as random fruits and veggies you can’t get elsewhere, specialty grains, nut butters, vitamins and organic meat.

Oh, and if you have a coupon, it definitely helps! But I don’t like to go crazy with the coupons. I only use it to buy things I was already planning on purchasing, otherwise I tend to spend more on something I wasn’t originally needing. But everyone is different. :)

What type of store do you typically shop at?

This is post 20 of a 31-day series on Financial Freedom. Click here to see all of the posts. 

  • This is a great list! I haven’t been to a farmers market in forever, but I need to do that soon.

  • Mary

    I get fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts and whole wheat flour from a local farm (spoiled I know.) I use a discount grocery store for toiletries, paper goods, rice, pasta, beans and dairy since they usually have Costco per unit prices, without having to buy enormous amounts of units. Costco is reserved for dog food, flea treatments, vitamins and things I can’t find at the discount grocery: usually vitamins, protein bars, and dried fruit. The regular grocery store is for those last minute filler items that I forgot to pick up during a bigger trip.

  • Lynda

    Like you I mix up my shopping based on best prices. Costco or Sams club are for bulk coffee beans, TP, milk, cheese, pasta, dry dog food and some bulk spices. A local farmers market supplies what doesn’t come from my garden. And meats come from whichever local grocery store is having a good sale and then I stock up the freezer – Stater Brothers is usually the winner here. I’ve been frugal for some time so have kind of worked out my routines with shopping to really limit my trips – if I’m not at the store I’m not tempted!

  • The Walmart Superstore has a great selection for everyday grocery type items. Their prices are significantly lower too.

  • Most of our groceries come from a CSA or a 15k member food co-op. It’s pretty rare that we go anywhere else but sometimes we’ll get a few things at Whole Foods that you can’t get at the co-op (dark chocolate covered frozen bananas) but it always blows my mind how much more expensive it is there.