Well let me tell you how I do it! We are basically a one income household so I don't have a ton of money to spend on groceries. We probably do spend a little bit more than we should but I cook 5 nights a week! I like to try out new recipes and I love cooking and baking goodies to eat throughout the week. Eating at home makes a huge difference not only for our budget but for the quality of food that we eat!
Tip #1: Order groceries Online or Make a list and stick to it!
I know that online grocery ordering isn't available to everyone but I will tell you that is one of the best tips I have for sticking to a budget. I know how much money I can spend in one week and I don't go over that amount. First, I add all of my must-haves to my grocery cart online. I then go through Pinterest and figure out what 5 recipes I will be making that week and add the ingredients that I don't have on hand to my cart. If there is any money left...I use that for fun stuff. No...I don't mean cookies! I mean a new flavor of Larabars, a new flavor of Kombucha, or a little dark chocolate to nibble on that week. I don't have any temptation to buy things that I don't need.
So look around. See if any of your local grocery stores have this option available. I have been online shopping for the past 4 years (since my daughter was born). My husband swings through and picks up groceries on his way home. It is WAY too easy. They offer a lot of "free" weeks of online groceries. I pay $16.95 a month. For me....that is nothing considering I don't have to go anywhere and I won't spend that $17 on splurging on unhealthy items! If you do not have online shopping available....make a list and stick to it!! Make that promise to yourself.
Tip #2: Buy organic at least for the items on the dirty dozen list.
Honestly, I don't always buy organic EVERYTHING! There are some fruits and veggies that I love that organic isn't available at my local grocery store. I almost always buy organic for items on the dirty dozen list and I buy non-organic on the items that aren't. I also invest in an organic veggie wash spray that I use on any non-organic produce. You do the best you can do. I would much rather eat a non-organic apple than a bag of Cheetos. So buy the produce!!! Buy organic when it is on sale. Buy organic on the dirty dozen and non-organic on anything else!
Tip #3: Compare Prices Online
There are some items that are not available or are ridiculously expensive at my local grocery store. Chia seeds for example. So when I need chia seeds....I Google it! I look around online and find the best price that I can and buy it from there. I also happen to know that Trader Joe's has awesome prices on their raw nuts so I go there once a month or so and stock up! I can't afford to buy that quantity of raw nuts/seeds at my local store. Shop around for anything that seems a little too expensive at your regular store. You can find some great prices for the EXACT SAME THING online!
Tip #4: Eat Vegetarian at least once a week
I eat a "meatless" meal probably at least twice a week. I am not a huge meat eater and cutting meat out of at least one or two meals a week makes a huge difference on your budget! I make things like rice and beans, avocado egg salad and kale salads with a sweet potato for meatless meals. My husband used to complain about not having MEAT for dinner but now he loves my meatless meals! I have found that they are just as delicious as any chicken or turkey meal that I make!
Tip #5: Make it yourself!!
Packaged "healthy" foods are expensive! Granola bars, protein bars, and muffins are some of my favorite snacks to make at home. Not only are they delicious and healthy but they are cheap to make! It may seem kind of intimidating at first but give it a try. It may take you 30 minutes to an hour on the weekend but you will have tons of snacks for your family to eat all week. You will know exactly what you put in those items and you will have saved a ton of money making them yourself! Cooking and baking is therapeutic for me. You may enjoy it more than you think! :)