Mama, let me guess.
You’re here because, either:
You’ve tried to cut the food budget but haven’t had much luck and you’re now willing to go deep to save on groceries;
You can’t believe that ‘woo-woo mindset shit’ could possibly impact on the family food budget and you just want to see what type of crazy idiot would write such garbage.
If you’re on team #2, I salute you. Because I was you.
But this year, 2019, I’ve been waking up to the fact (yes, FACT) that mindset is EVERYTHING in EVERYTHING we do.
So if you’ve been struggling to cut the family food budget, here are 11 exceedingly helpful mindset changes you can work on.
Fair warning, you will have to combine these mindset with massive practical action. So check out the sister post I published last week: The Big Enchilada Post: How to Save Money On Groceries (Can You Cut Your Food Budget In Half?)
Why The Heck Should I Work On Mindset? (Shouldn’t I just clip coupons instead?)
Working on your mindset might just be the most important part of saving money on groceries!
And I feel compelled to reassure you that I’m a rational, logical, Type-A, left-brainer, sceptic. I don’t knit my own muesli, drink my own placenta or do primal screams at the moon. Boring I know.
But this mindset shit works!
Because if you’re consistently spending your time and energy on saving money, you’ll eventually get bored, frustrated, tired and downright sick of it. Because:
Constantly counting pennies, cents and pesos is exhausting.
Constantly worrying about not having enough food to feed your children is exhausting and downright soul destroying. (And, yes, I know whereof I speak!!)
Constantly trekking around supermarkets trying to stretch a micro-food budget is exhausting.
But a strong, positive mindset will fortify you to get through these tough times.
No, it won’t fill your belly. But the right mindset just keep you from splurging on an expensive take out when your budget is more ‘rice and beans’.
11 Clever Mindset Shifts to Help You
Cut Your Food Budget
Why Are You Cutting The Food Budget Anyway?
Whatever your reason for wanting to cut your food budget, hang on to that goal. Like a chocoholic hangs on to the last Oreo.
Maybe you’re cutting your food budget to pay down your debts.
Or maybe you’re cutting your expenses so you can stay home with your children.
Whatever your goal, you might find it helpful to have some sort of visual reminder in a prominent place.
Maybe you could create a vision board of what life will feel like without your debt.
Or maybe a photo representing your ideal life on your phone’s background to remind you of your goal throughout your day.
Or maybe a few Post-It notes stuck around your home reminding you of your goal.
Whatever works for you.
Check in with your goal at least once a day and you’ll soon be on your way to iron clad willpower.
Remember that ‘This Too Shall Pass’
If you’re cutting the food budget because of a bad financial situation - redundancy, sickness, general economic crisis - bear in mind that circumstances will change eventually.
Life WILL get brighter and easier for you and your family.
Because everything is just a phase.
Yes, of course, you should take massive action each and every day to improve your circumstances.
But you also need a healthy dose of trust. Don’t be without hope. He will deliver you and yours - I truly believe it, mama.
Work on ‘Beating the System’
You don’t have to start dressing like a communist. But if it helps, think about saving money on groceries as ‘beating the system’.
Unleash your competitive edge.
It’s you VS the supermarkets - and they’re practically peeing themselves to get you to spend more of your hard earned cash.
But every penny, cent and peso saved is one small win for you.
Another way to ‘beat the system’ is growing your own food.
‘Beating the system’ is one way to get some kinda perverse pleasure from cutting back the food budget. (or is that just me!)
Just shaved 10% off your food bill?
High five, mama! Suck on that, Big Business!!
Get comfortable with being detail oriented
Yes, mama, you need to get your head into those figures!
Stop being vague and woolly headed about the money you spend.
Save the receipts. And analyse what you buy, what you eat, what goes to waste, where you’re overspending, and cost up meals before you add them to your meal plan.
Be so forensically detailed you make the CSI team look both careless and sloppy!! (Latex gloves totally optional!)
If you aren’t naturally analytical, you might find this tough. But actually it’s just a case of practice makes perfect. You’ve got this, mama.
Get used to spending time (instead of money)
In our time poor lives, we’re used to spending money to save time.
But if you’re cutting the grocery bill, you’ll have to change that mindset - a bit.
Meal planning, shopping in multiple stores, and even chopping your own bloody peppers can seem like a total time suck. And in the beginning it will be.
But after a few weeks you’ll know what the best prices are, where to shop, when to shop and what meal planning system works for you.
Think of it like training to be a supermarket ninja: With practice, you’ll be fast, stealthy and a total stone cold killer when it comes to saving money. (Wearing all black is totally optional.)
Stay Open Minded (and I don’t mean about that threesome your weirdo neighbour suggested!)
Be open to trying ingredients you’ve never even heard of before in your quest to save money.
Beans, lentils, quinoa, jackfruit, soya beans, seitan and many others are all great money savers and healthy, too.
Or go full-Euro cuisine and try liver, kidneys, heart, intestines and whatever other bits of animals you never ate before. Because all those cuts of meat are cheaper than sirloin. (OK, I admit, this one takes some balls!)
But please stop that automatic knee jerk reaction: ‘I can’t cook that!’ and ‘They’ll all hate that’ and give it a whirl.
Find Your Tribe
Follow along with money saving Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Find bloggers that share cheaper recipes and money saving ideas.
Join Facebook groups on the topics of meal planning, eating cheaply, and local deals.
These people can provide daily support, encouragement, motivation and accountability.
Food is Money
This might be the most important point of all: Food is Money.
So stop throwing it away!
Enforce a new family policy - no one is allowed to throw any food away.
The best ways I’ve found to avoid throwing food away is:
Only meal plan for 5 days a week - the other dinners can be leftovers,
Eat leftovers for lunch,
Make friends with your freezer,
Deliberately buy less food than you think you’ll need,
Get control of portion sizes when you’re dishing out dinner.
If you truly get onboard with the idea that food is money, you’ll be able to stretch the weekly food shop an extra day or more. Win!!
Mama, you’re going to mess this up this food budgeting thing at some point.
We ALL do.
So when you do overspend - maybe because you can’t take another minute of coupon cutting and penny pinching - give yourself a bit of grace!
And get back on track when you can.
Why not research some seriously budget meal ideas for those days when you have to rescue your food budget?
Swallow your pride
If you’re struggling to put food on the table or skipping your own meals so that you can feed the rest of your family, for the love of God, please tell someone!!
Friends, family, neighbours, or your church will want to help. Yes, it might hurt your pride. But it won’t actually kill you.
Remember that your net worth is not your self worth, mama. And we all go through hard times.
And while we’re on the subject, if you think there’s another mama struggling, do something. Invite her over for dinner, or find some other creative way to help. Sadly, we don’t have to look too far to find people in need.
Don’t Take it Lying Down
Sometimes the sad truth is that there’s only so much you can stretch a tiny food budget.
So what can you do?
You could look into ways to increase your food budget. My girl Elna from Smart Mom Ideas has rounded up 74 ways for moms to make money at home.
I feel compelled to say that you NEED to do your homework before undertaking any opportunity. And don’t forget to declare your income as appropriate in your country. (Because we don’t want you to get into the shit on this one!!)
Helpful Mental Shifts to Help You Save Money On Groceries
OK, so you have to cut the food budget.
And please believe that I’m in no way patronising you and telling you that you should be happy, positive or perky about cutting the food budget.
Because scrimping and saving both sucks AND blows.
And there’s no way to avoid that fact.
But a mental shift here, and a perspective change there, can improve how you react to your circumstances.
So give it a go.
See if it works for you.
Good luck, mama.
Remember somebody loves you!!