Most of us have experienced an empty pocketbook at one time or another, and it’s a difficult position to be in. Not having money for food, for yourself, or for your family is an even worse position to be put in. Some of us living in the metro-Richmond area are in this same boat as the rest of the country in having this problem.
Many families are eligible for aid through their state’s SNAP program. Other families or individuals may be on disability or Social Security benefits. All these families have a limited income, leaving them with a limited amount of funds each month for groceries after other necessities have been paid for.
This examiner is on Social Security benefits, and is very familiar with working with a limited amount of money each month. After rent, electricity, gas for the car and other necessary items are taken care of, what is left is allocated for groceries for the next 30 days. How this is accomplished is based on good planning, and sometimes a bit of luck.
Know what you need and need what you plan to buy
In other words, sit down and make a list. While making your list, think about how a meal can last for an additional meal. For example, a roast can be stew the following night, along with a sandwich for lunch over the next day or so.
Divide your list into dairy, canned goods, boxed goods, fresh vegetables, meats and bread. Plan on how you will use the items you buy, and how leftovers can be used the next day or so. Plan to make more than one meal out of a main course.
Another way to line up your list is to visualize the aisles in the store you regularly use. This will aide in making your shopping trip easier. Most important to remember is this: Only b uy what is on your list.
The use of coupons
Coupons can be a great way to save money at the check-out counter. But keep in mind they don’t help one bit if the coupons are for things you or your family don’t normally buy or like. Another thing to consider is that people often overlook “generic” or store brands that are just as good. The savings on buying store brands is considerable sometimes.
The Dollar Store
You may find that many household items such as toilet paper, cosmetics, cleaning products, toothpaste and other products are cheaper at the local Dollar Store. You can have a column on your shopping list for these things.
Staying within the budget
Believe it when I say you can stay within your shopping budget. Never go shopping when you are hungry. Leave the kids at home, if at all possible. Using whole numbers, calculate the total of what you expect to spend on your shopping list, and be pleasantly surprised when the cash register receipt is less than what you expected.