Recently, I was comparing my budget versus what I actually spend and I realized that a bulk of it, besides bills, is spent at the grocery store.
After going through all the receipts from February, I calculated that we spent $619.84 at the grocery store in one month! Blown away, because I don’t think we eat more than the average couple, I decided we need to get this under control. I mean $619.84 seems like enough to feed a family of five and it’s only the two of us. In our defense, we eat pretty much every meal at home (trying to only eat out at a restaurant twice a month), bring our lunch to work every day, and buy a lot of fresh produce.
According to the USDA, food costs went up 4.8% in 2011 and they are predicting a 3.5% increase in 2012. Although this plays a part in how much we spend; I think the major problem lies in the fact that we have gotten a little lax when it comes to some core money-saving strategies. And now is as good a time as ever to return to some smart-shopping methods.
There are thousands of tips out there about how to cut your grocery bill. Some are good and some are just dumb. I chose 6 tips/tricks that I am going to (try to) diligently follow for the entire month of March. Throughout this month-long challenge (I secretly love a challenge) I am going to track my grocery spending and give some updates on how it’s going. Hopefully by the end of the month I will be able to tell you what helped and what didn’t and maybe even discover some new tricks to share.
Like with any challenge, there needs to be a goal. I am going to be bold here and say that I am going to try my hardest to only spend $489.84 on groceries in March (Without starving myself or majorly altering the way I eat). This is a $130 (21%) decrease from what we spent last month! Please don’t stone me if I fall short.
Here are the 6 tips
- AFTER making your list, clip coupons for the things you need. (check supermarket websites for coupons too)
- Know your budget and bring only cash to the store with you.
- Avoid taking children (in my case, a junk-food-loving boyfriend) to the store with you.
- Use ALL the items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer before buying more.
- Buy non-grocery items (cleaning, health & beauty etc…) at mass market retailers like Target or CVS where they tend to be cheaper.
- Compare prices of the items at eye-level to the same items on the higher and lower shelves.
Stay tuned for an update. Wish me luck!
For some help with budgeting and tracking your spending, visit ConsumerCredit.com