New to budgeting? Not sure how to make grocery prices work for your needs? Not sure you’re cut out to live the life of an extreme couponer? Take a deep breath – cooking tasty meals and eating enjoyable food without breaking the bank is easier than you think. Just keep these basics in mind!

Know Your Budget

Determining your grocery budget is the first, and maybe most important, step. Everyone says “I need to spend less on groceries”, but what does that actually mean for your household?

Plan Ahead

Sit down and actually make a menu for the week. Factor in what you’ve already got on hand, and if possible, plan multiple meals that use the same ingredients so you can justify buying ingredients larger quantities.

Make a List – and Stick to It!

Go in the grocery store determined – you’re on a mission.

Shop Sales

Most grocery stores have a sale rotation, and once you figure out their schedule, buying your groceries when they’re on sale gets easier and easier.

Buy in Bulk

Not an option for everyone, but if you’re able to buy larger quantities, you’ll generally end up spending less per serving. Just make sure you’re not buying more than you can actually use and consume before it expires.

Stock Your Freezer

Freezer meals are great, but keep ingredients on hand, too! When you’re shopping sales and buying in bulk, stocking up on freezer-friendly proteins, veggies, and fruits is so, so easy to do.

Use Every Part

Instead of buying prepackaged chicken breasts and prepackaged chicken thighs, you may find better prices on a whole chicken that you can prep yourself. That way you’re getting breasts, thighs, and even wings for a lower cost. The prep time may be a trade off you’re willing to pay for, though, so keep that in mind.