Do you start your month with good intentions of sticking to $X amount for groceries and then all of the sudden it is the end of the month and that money is GONE?
Here are 5 ways I have survived the end of the month shortage of funds in the grocery area.
Did you stock up on chicken last month and have some in the freezer still? Do you have some chicken broth, cream of mushroom, or cans of anything in the pantry.
Even if it is 1 jar of sauce, a single frozen meal, write it down.
List your meats, vegetables, sauces, frozen meals and more. Many times I buy things that are a good deal and they are sitting in the pantry or freezer but I have never used them.
This is my #1 Go To Website when I am trying to stretch things out. Go to the “Ingredient Search” section. Add the ingredients that you have on hand. It will show you meals you can make with what you have-or maybe you only need to buy 1 or 2 things to make something instead of buying for a whole extra meal.
If you have some chicken, cream of mushroom and some frozen broccoli- there is a long list of items you can make. When I pulled this up- I realized I had rice too and I had 2 meals I could make that did not cost me any extra. This could make your list shorter.
Make a menu from where you are-until the end of the month. Add the meals that you can make with what you have to the menu. If you have to have cereal everyday-write it down. If you or your kids won’t like what is on the menu-writing it down and informing them will prepare them and let them get mad all at once so they can get over it before meal time.
If you would like the meal planner and shopping list in one form I created-email me Diana@pantryoverflow.com and I will send it to you!
#4 Be Creative.
If your kids are a little bit older you can tell them ” I am not going to go grocery shopping for ____ days. What can we make out of what we have?
- *Breakfast for dinner-pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos, cereal.
- *Everyone has a different item– Many times I clean out the fridge or freezer with random items and I tell everyone I am trying to use up what we have so that I can buy more groceries. One of them will have a pot pie, another Cup of Noodles, a chicken quesadilla, whatever I pull out that needs to be used up.
- Create meals that have the same ingredients. Ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese can give make you cheeseburgers, tacos, nachos, and salad. This will shorten your list and stretch it out without feeling like you are eating the same meals.
#5 Plan for next month.
Sometimes there is just nothing you can do because you already blew it. Happens to everyone. BUT- are you going to do it again next month? You can decide that right now. Figure out where you went wrong this month. Did you spend too much at the beginning? Did you buy too much at Costco or Sam’s Club and not have enough for actual food? Did you buy too many “really good deals” but not have enough for “really good food”? Did you make a menu, a list, a budget? By figuring out where it went wrong and deciding how you can correct the problem, you can avoid it happening again. If it is the end of the month-you only have a few days to start over! Look ahead to next month and start planning now. Do you have events, parties, school lunches etc? Make sure your shopping list has these items on there so you will make less trips to the store and not buy any unnecessary items.
- Stay out of the store. If you don’t go in, you wont spend any money.
- Do not use your credit card. Even though it is tempting-it is a temporary solution and you will end up here again.
- If you do go into the store-stick to your menu, list, and budget. NO EXTRAS.
- Do not go crazy at the beginning of the month just because you finally have money again. Think the whole month through if you have to.
- Do not go out to eat. Yes, it is easier-but that money could go towards meals at home.
- Stick to the sale items in the ad and use your coupons.
- There will be MORE deals again when you have money-don’t let that fear of missing out actually cause you to miss out! Deals cycle through again.
If you are in this or a similar situation and need more specific help-please feel free to email me your situation and I would love to further help you. I have been in many different financial situations over the years and yet I have survived. Just email Diana@pantryoverflow.com!