Splurge on Some Things To Save Overall
Over the years I have developed some strategies that help me to save on my grocery budget while still allowing room to splurge on a few things that help me create the kind of lifestyle I want. If you consider the percentage of our income that is spent on food, it's easy to see how making just a few minor tweaks can really save us a lot of money overall. Read on to see how I have done just that.
How to splurge, while grocery shopping, within a budget
Do you start to feel a little (or a lot) panicky when your partner brings up the dreaded conversation about saving money? Something inside me wants to rush out and buy a bunch of stuff while I can because who knows when I will be able to do it again?
Feeling like we are deprived (whether we really are or not) plays an important role in how we spend money. I'm here to help with some little tricks that will (hopefully) help you avoid that feeling of deprivation and desperation that usually results in throwing the budget out the window and doesn't really help us in our day to day spending.
I shifted the way that I spend money and it's opened up a whole new world of saving money while still feeling like I can buy things that I want. Here are some of my top ways to splurge!
Ordering Groceries Online
One year ago I let my husband talk me into buying groceries online. The first few orders were free because Smith's waived the pickup free. It was SO nice to order online then just drive to the store to pick them up. It got a little bit harder one I had to start paying the $5 fee. I kept questioning if it was really worth spending the money each week.
Over time I began to realize that I was actually saving money by using the service! The first savings comes from cutting out impulse buys. I make my menu and add the items to my list that I will need for the week. That's it. Wow, I was surprised at how much I was buying that wasn't actually on my list. The average savings fall between $30-50 per week.
The second way I save money is by utilizing their substitution policy. If an item is out of stock at the time they fill my order, they will substitute with something of equal if not better value. That can mean something in a larger size, or the more expensive brand. I always opt to allow for substitutions unless it is a very specific item that I want/need for a specific reason. Always be open to substituting items. It's a great way to save $.
The third way that I save money is by checking all my digital coupons before I go shopping to make sure I get the discounts on items I am buying. There are always coupons that are specific to online shopping as well as general digital coupons.
Every few months I will get a coupon for a combination of items that are free if I purchase online. If you add up the cost of the individual items, they always add up to more than the $5 fee. So, again, I get free groceries for doing the online shopping. Overall, my grocery budget has decreased quite a bit. All because I was willing to "splurge" on the curbside fee.
Find something to splurge on and economize on things you don't care about as much
I used to the be a shopper who looked longingly at the fresh berries and big bags of cutie oranges and resolutely walked away from them unless they were on sale. Then one day, I decided to start buying the blueberries and raspberries AND cutie oranges. You know what, sometimes I do spend a little bit more money on them than I want to, BUT my kids eat it all up.
I cut back on buying a few other snacks for them or buy the cheaper brands because they don't care. They prefer the fresh fruit and it's better for them! Overall, my budget didn't change. I just adjusted some of the other snacks I was buying to make it work.
As a busy mom I have a really hard time with lunches. I don't have a lot of time to prepare my lunch. I also can't rely a lot on leftovers because 1) As a general rule, my family won't eat leftovers and 2) any leftovers they will eat are used in lunches. Since I don't fancy the idea of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.
I started to splurge a little on lunch items for myself. Some weeks that means I buy sushi, or individual portioned soup, or a bean dip that is a bit pricey. Ultimately, it doesn't kill the budget. I also spend less than $7 on lunch food items and they see me through the week. It's nice to know that I have a few quick, tasty options for my lunch throughout the week. It makes it a whole lot easier to skip on buying fast food.
Splurge when you find a deal on an item you love so you don't have to pay full price later
I love baking and I really love using Guittard chocolate chips in all my baking. They have the best flavor AND they are easy to melt in the microwave without adding any additional ingredients. Most of the time during the year, a single bag of these chips costs anywhere between $4-5 per bag. Yowza. I love those chips more than a lot of things, but I can't bring myself to pay that much for one bag. What's a girl to do?
Fortunately for me, my local grocery store has a big baking sale in the fall. I always buy a whole box of chocolate chips. I spend about half the regular price for a box, but they last me the whole year (that is if I can hide them away from my hubby and kids). Since I buy them at the cheapest price point in the year, I am able to use the fancy chocolate chips in all my baking.
I also keep an eye out for them and buy additional bags if they drop down to the lowest sale price. It's hard to know exactly how many bags I will go through in a whole year. As my kids get older, I seem to go through more and more bags. We eat a lot of chocolate chip cookies around here.
Knowing that I have a few items that I buy in bulk at certain times in the year, I try to shave off a little bit of my regular budget surrounding that sales time frame so that my overall budget stays the same. When you save $10 here or there for six weeks, it's easy to make up the difference that is spent on the "splurge" item.
Splurge on good quality ingredients and learn to cook/bake from scratch
I love to eat good tasting food every day. Before I got married I knew how to make a handful of simple meals and I had a lot of experience with baking. Over the years I have learned how to cook and bake lots of things from scratch. They always taste at least as good (and often better) than the counterparts I find in the stores and restaurants.
I have learned that the biggest difference to something going from tasting mediocre to tasting really great is the quality of the ingredients I use. When I make meals that only have a few ingredients, I try to find good quality ingredients to let those flavors shine.
I have also learned which ingredients to splurge on and which ones to economize on. For instance, I like to use good quality meats, cheeses, and herbs, but I will often by the cheapest brand for canned items like beans, tomato sauce, and frozen vegetables.
Making meals from scratch saves us a lot of money per serving, even when I use the good quality ingredients. With a big family to feed, it just makes money sense to make most of our own food. Then when we DO take the kids out, I think they appreciate it more because it is a special occasion.
I hope these tips gets your wheels churning about ways that you can enjoy things that YOU love while sticking to a budget. Tell me what you like to splurge on and some of your favorite ways to stay within your budget without inducing that panicky feeling of deprivation. I'd love to see a picture of your favorite splurge on Instagram #peachtreedr