Okay guys- you may have already been much smarter than me in this area but I wanted to share a big tip that has helped me tremendously with my grocery budget!
I was constantly in a pickle with my food budget- I was staying within it but felt like I was buying the same old boring foods or not enough of the things we really liked. I felt frustrated and kept thinking the problem was that the budget wasn't big enough. (Sometimes that really IS the problem- but more often than not I've found there to be other issues at play!) I took a look at what I was doing with my groceries and meal planning and came to the conclusion that one of my biggest problems was with LEFTOVERS. It may sound silly, but changing two things in regards to leftovers has opened up so much room within my budget, huzzah!
1- DON'T make leftovers!
This may sound pointless and sometimes you can't help it, but if you can, avoid making extra at dinner time unless you KNOW you're gonna eat it. I found myself purposely making huge dinner proportions most nights because I thought that meant I wouldn't have to cook the following night or two and I was all about saving that time! But then I realized that many of the leftovers I had created never actually got eaten because of various excuses- it didn't taste as good the next day, it looked unappetizing after sitting in the fridge for 24 hours, I forgot about them, or I wanted something else for dinner instead of the same thing three nights in a row. By being realistic with how much dinner I make each night, I've had much more room to spend money on more variety foods as well as more fun snacks!
2- Actually EAT your leftovers!
Now if you actually make leftovers, eat them! Pack them for your husband for lunch, eat them for dinner and make a new side dish to keep it from being monotonous- do whatever it takes to eat them up! At one point I was throwing away 3-4 tupperwares of leftovers in a two week period. That is so much food that I was just wasting! I've made a concentrated effort to eat up leftovers within a day or two of their creation and it has been awesome!
My grocery budget is now being put towards the foods we actually eat and want to eat instead of too much of the foods we were just throwing away a week later. It has created a lot of freedom, and frankly I'm embarrassed I didn't realize these simple steps earlier! If you are in the same leftover-rut I was in a few months ago, try this! It's a serious game changer. :)