For stay-at-home mother Nadine Graham, saving money at the grocery store is not just a hobby, it’s a necessity.
Her husband is a welder and in April 2015, due to a decline in contract work, he was forced to take a lesser-paying job.
In order to continue to survive on one income, and a decreased one at that, Graham has gotten organized and thrifty in her approach to grocery shopping.
She spends between $600 and $750 on groceries each month. Here’s how:
Graham plans out a month’s worth of dinners before even stepping into the grocery store. She writes everything down in a binder and organizes her list so that she can avoid wasting food by using leftovers for more meals. For example, she will turn strips of beef from a roast into a stew or use the bones from a chicken for soup.
“There’s two meals with one chicken that cost me $9, so that’s a cheap day of meals,” Graham said.
Graham buys the bulk of her groceries at the beginning of the month when some stores offer discounts of 10 to 15 per cent.
“When I go on that first Tuesday of the month I can buy the majority of the groceries I will need for an entire month and then I get them on sale.”
She uses the discount days to stock up on meat, which she then freezes. She also buys non-perishables that will keep.
“Use coupons. They’re there. You know, if you can save $1 off of something or 75 cents, it only seems like 75 cents but that’s for one item. If you have $10 worth of coupons, well that’s $10 in savings,” Graham said.
“Never pay full price. You don’t have to.”
Graham uses grocery apps as she shops to check off what she’s purchased and ensure she is not caving in to impulse purchases. She also keeps a calculator handy to make sure she’s staying on budget as she goes.
“By the time I get to the till, I’m pretty close as to what we’re going to spend so I know that if all of a sudden I’m looking at this going, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m at $350 and I would really like that box of cookies,’ I don’t buy it because I know I’m already at $350 and it’s a nice to have…. It keeps me a little more on budget.”
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