Ahh yes, grocery shopping! Everybody needs to do it or at least everybody has to buy food. And the Internet, magazines, and newspapers abound with articles with headlines such as "25 Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill" and "Easy Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store." There's also articles like "Ways to Save Big on Food!" that encourage people to eat at home rather than out and cook from scratch rather than buying pre-made.
Seriously - you probably know many of the 'rules' (especially those of you who popped over from Frugal Friday at LifeAsMom): shop the sales, match the sales with coupons, check the pricing per ounce, buy in season...
And the list goes on and on.
After doing all of that, many get frustrated that their grocery budget just won't budget any further - me included. I hit $75 per week for two adults and 2 toddlers and couldn't budge it down from there. I got frustrated. And, frankly, a little upset. If the proverbial "they" could do it, why couldn't I? After all, I cook at home, live in a metropolitan area with all kinds of stores, and don't mind clipping coupons and matching sales.
Then I realized something: If we started watching our serving sizes, we'd have to purchase less.
Most people in the US, eat way too much - myself included. I have gotten better. And watching my serving sizes helped. I have a long way to go, but that's another story entirely!
For example: a single serving of meat is 4 ounces. Therefore, a single 20oz package of boneless and skinless chicken breasts is 5 servings. Since there are usually 3 breasts per package, most people use that as 3 servings. That's fine if you're assuming it gives you the recommended 2 servings of protein needed per day for the average person. However, most of us get protein in other places during the day, so we really only need 4 ounces, rather than the approximately 6 2/3 ounces that the single chicken breast gives us.
And children need even less than we do - especially small children. Making a full size adult serving for a small child can mean that half the meal (or more) is thrown away at the end and wasted. Yes, my 5-year-old son can out-eat me or my husband in the middle of a growth spurt, but that doesn't happen every day! (Thankfully!) :)
Watching the amount we eat means we buy less in our household and I've been able to slash our grocery budget as low as an average of $25/week! Right now we're between $40 and $60 per week for our average, and trying to figure out where the best dollar amount is for our family at this point in our lives. It's certainly better than $75 per week and we're saving a minimum of $60 per month from where we were!
Just by watching how much we eat! How cool is that?
And it's the easiest way I know to save money. For a busy Mom like me, that's priceless!