While creating and sticking to a grocery budget isn’t as fun as a girls’ weekend to Cancun, it does have its perks. The food category in your budget is one of the easiest places for money to fall through the cracks. And if you can quickly and easily patch those budget leaks, you’ll have more money to put elsewhere. Vacation fund, anyone? Cancun, here we come!
Creating a grocery budget was one of those things I avidly avoided throughout my 20s. It meant embracing adulthood and spending time on boring stuff, like flipping through grocery circulars every week.
It wasn’t until I stopped assuming I knew what we spent on food, and actually looked that I changed my mind.
We were spending – gulp! – over $1,000 a month (on average) for two adults on food.
Even typing that makes my stomach hurt. Over ten years that extra $300 a month turns out to add up to $36,000. That’s 6 (or more) very nice trips to Ireland. A brand new fully loaded SUV. Or more than my actual student loan was. You get the picture. That little bit every month adds up – and quick!
So how’d we straighten up and start saving over $300 a month consistently without a ton of effort? I found a great program called The Grocery Budget Makeover by Erin Chase that helped us get on track.
The Grocery Budget Makeover isn’t a meal plan or extreme couponing. It consists of real strategies that you can use to cut your weekly grocery budget. And it’s more than just grocery shopping tips and tricks. It goes in-depth on how to create a sustainable grocery shopping plan that fits your lifestyle.
How The Grocery Budget Makeover Helps to Reduce Your Grocery Bill Dramatically
The Grocery Budget Makeover is a self paced series of videos and printable worksheets to help you learn the ins and outs of building your personalized grocery budget.
The great part about the program is that you tailor it to fit your needs.
Don’t want to coupon? Fine, skip that lesson. Have food allergies in the family? There’s a bonus lesson for you. Want to only order groceries online? That’s covered as well. Want to know how to get your family on board? You’ve got it!
No matter your family’s specific needs, it’s covered in the Grocery Budget Makeover’s lessons. The course doesn’t specifically tell you what to buy, but rather helps you figure out what your family will eat (and you want to actually cook), and then apply savings strategies to those purchases.
It’s not about giving up all your veggies for processed foods to save a dime. It’s about figuring out what’s important to you – whether it’s allergy free foods, organic, or pizza! – and learning how to save money on those items.
The Grocery Budget Makeover program includes:
- 2 pre-makeover lessons that include the concept behind creating a $5 dinner to feed your family.
- 10 video lessons with multiple printable grocery budget worksheets. The longest video is 13 minutes, so you can fit this in after putting kids to bed or on your lunch break.
- 3 bonus lessons that cover food allergies, saving with mobile apps (think Ibotta!), and online grocery shopping services.
- Printable recipe cards for specific recipes, such as Hawaiian Meatloaf
- Videos of cooking demos to help you brush up on your prep skills in the kitchen (if you’re rusty and unmotivated to cook like I was!)
How to cut your grocery bills and still eat healthy
One of the best parts about the Grocery Budget Makeover is that I could do it at my pace. I struggled with finding time to incorporate the meal planning step, so I stayed on that lesson for several weeks until I felt I had it down.
I love that I can mold the lessons to our family’s needs. We’re often running out the door, and the meal plan lesson was a great piece that I go back to to refresh myself. I’ve learned to keep it simple and plan ahead, otherwise we’ll end up at the drive-thru.
We’ve also been cutting out processed foods, and this program works great for that. Erin shows where you can find coupons for organic products and more. There are some great pointers on shopping healthy on a budget as well, which makes me feel good even better about sticking to the budget! There’s no guilt over the foods I choose anymore. I just know that I have ways to find discounts and sales for those foods now.
Healthy food AND budget friendly grocery shopping? It’s a win-win!
Why I chose to try this course to Learn Grocery Shopping on a Budget
The Grocery Budget Makeover is about changing your mindset and methods of shopping. It’s about identifying your weak points and using new strategies to strengthen them.
For us, being so busy was a weak point. It was just easiest to grab something on the way to our destination, especially when we were headed in different directions. Since I pinpointed that as one of our costly expenses, I’ve been able to come up with budget-friendly and timely solutions, like using my crockpot or simplifying my planned meals.
Here’s why I was successful with the Grocery Budget Makeover:
I liked the video format of the lessons.
Erin is personable, explains things very well, and she’s easy to understand. I found I could easily take notes on the worksheets to refer back to while watching the short videos.
I can go back and access the content anytime.
You have a lifetime membership, so if stockpiling doesn’t fit into your life right now, you can save that lesson for later. Not to mention, I don’t always pick up everything the first time, which is fine. I can always go back and brush up as needed!
There’s a supportive Facebook group for members.
They’re great at helping to answer unique problems that apply specifically to your family, or answer any questions about the lessons. It’s nice to have other people on the same journey to find support and bounce ideas off of.
The worksheets are really helpful.
There’s nothing I hate more than a course that just puts the video content into PDF format and calls it a worksheet. Erin’s course has multiple grocery shopping worksheets for each lesson that are actually helpful in focusing on your mindset and building your plans. Everything from recipes to meal planning guides, to shopping lists are included in the worksheet documents.
It’s easy. It’s almost too easy (if that makes any sense!).
Really, the only hold up was myself when it came to putting the information into action. Everything is laid out for you, so if you’re not ready to put it into action, I would not bother checking the course out.
The lessons really cover from soup to nuts (see what I did there??).
These lessons aren’t just about couponing and shopping sales. They include getting your family involved, thinking about your shopping triggers, meal planning, and kitchen hacks, to name a few of the pieces. When applied at the same time, they click together to build a complete grocery shopping strategy that really does save you a ton of money, time and effort.
Who Should Not Try grocery shopping on a tight budget with this course
There are a couple of specific parts of this course that make it not applicable to everyone. I would not recommend it for:
- Anyone who doesn’t want to take the time to apply the skills learned in the lessons (obviously). You have to do the work in order to make it work, right?
- Anyone who struggles with perfectionism and getting the best deal, ALWAYS. (You know who you are!) Just accept that sometimes there will be a better deal than the one you got. However, discounted is better than paying full price, even if it’s not the biggest discount!
- You’re looking for a meal planning program that gives you the recipes, a shopping list, and when to make what. If you want something like that, try $5 Dinners or MyFreezEasy (which I absolutely LOVE!)
The Results of our Grocery Budget Makeover
Now that we’ve gone through the Grocery Budget Makeover, we spend about $700 a month for a family of four. Could it be less? Sure. But I pick and choose my battles. I am incorporating the strategies from the Grocery Budget Makeover that make sense for me at this busy season in my life.
I like couponing and stockpiling, but I don’t always have time for it with two littles running around. Either way, that $300 savings we’re currently achieving is huge. And when I have more time to focus on upping my strategy, you can bet I’ll be heading back to the lessons to brush my grocery budgeting skills!
So if you’re looking to revamp your grocery budget, learn to build a healthy cheap grocery list, or just want easily save more money for those trips to Cancun, Erin Chase’s Grocery Budget Makeover hits the mark.
Have questions about the Grocery Budget Makeover course, lessons, or worksheets? Comment below, I’d love to share more of my grocery budgeting experiences!