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How to Avoid Excessive Food Expenses

Whether you’re buying groceries or grabbing a quick pick-me-up, every penny counts. We invest so much into our kids and their extracurricular activities, so when we can save in other areas, it can balance everything out. Here are some money saving mom hacks to help save where you can.

Grocery Shopping

When you’re at the store, don’t just grab what you’re used to. Grocery store marketing is genius. It’s all about convenience and brand loyalty. Fight back by looking at all of your options before grabbing your go-to brand or the first thing you see on the end-cap or special display by the front door. Look at how much each brand costs per ounce or per unit. Compare prices and try the lowest. You might be surprised by the high quality of the lowest priced off-brands or you may find that paying a few cents extra is worth it on certain items. You never know until you try.

Shop at stores that offer rewards. For example, Walmart has a feature called “Savings Catchers.” This feature allows you to earn money toward future Walmart purchases when you scan your receipts into the Savings Catchers app. Other grocery stores have rewards cards that are free, but give members discounted rates.

You can even save money by buying groceries online. Certain chains will offer a $10 off code when you refer a friend or for first-time users. Take advantage of these money saving features!

Snacks and Lunches

The day-to-day routine of life can become expensive when you calculate how much money your family spends on food. Besides going to the grocery store and meal planning, there are always other food expenses that sneak up on us. From after school treat stops to letting the kids buy lunch in the cafeteria instead of bringing their lunch, these small and unexpected expenses can add up quick.

Sticking to a budget is crucial when it comes to food. It’s easy to grab dinner instead of making that homemade lasagna when you’re in a hurry. It’s easy to go to your favorite fast food spot to get the kids an after school snack when they’re fighting in the backseat instead of making them wait until you get home. It’s easier to spend the extra money to keep the peace and keep up with the pace of life.

To avoid this from happening, plan ahead. I know it’s way easier to say than do, but make this a habit. For snacks on the car ride home after school, bring the kids something that’s not messy and won’t ruin the interior of the car, but will keep them calm and give them the refuel they need after a long afternoon of learning. Nuts, granola bars, fruit, and crackers are all great options. It’s not enough food to ruin their appetite, but it gives them just a little boost to get through homework and free time before dinner.

When it comes to lunches, be consistent. They’ll want some change to go to the vending machine or they’ll charge their lunch card because the sandwich you sent just doesn’t sound good. Sit with your kids and go over lunch options to make sure they are getting the most nutritious and delicious foods for them. Then, set a budget for extras at school. Maybe they get one dollar every day to buy a dessert to go with their lunch, maybe it’s more or less. Just set a budget and talk it through with your kids to make sure everyone sticks to it.

Food expenses add up fast. Before you know it, your budget has been overrun by gas station snacks and fast food runs. Be consistent, stick to a budget, and look for ways to save!