This week I’m sharing my strategy for saving money on groceries! It’s something I enjoy doing, but I don’t do it for the rush I get when my grocery bill drops $12 after my coupons are scanned. That’s always fun, but there’s so much more to saving money on groceries than that. Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea and settle in for a sec, will you? I think it’s important to give you the why before I tell you how.
I’ve never had the means to spend whatever I wanted on groceries, clothing or anything else. The Lord has always provided for my needs, and compared to most people in the world, I’m very well off. But I have always had to live by a structured budget with an awareness of my bank balance. I’ve never owned a credit card – I always pay “cash” via a debit card for my purchases. People usually gasp when I tell them neither my husband nor I use credit cards – don’t worry, we own a home and have excellent credit scores (we do have a credit card in Paul’s name for truly desperate emergencies…it’s locked in a fire proof box and hasn’t been used once in our married life. 🙂 )
I haven’t read any of Dave Ramsey’s books, but I agree that you have to tell your money what to do unless you want it to disappear. We don’t always make the right choices when it comes to spending our money, but I’m finding that not everyone knows how to live on a cash budget. Not having debt other than a very manageable mortgage and a small monthly car payment makes it easier to live on cash than when we were paying off $28,000 of debt 3 years ago, but we’ve always been able to manage it.
In our family, my husband “tells the money where to go” by choosing how much extra we put on the car payment each month, how much extra we have for gifts or fun things, or how much we need to put in savings. I’m in charge of saving as much as possible on the things we have to have – groceries, household supplies and clothes. I save a minimum of $1,900 every year in groceries alone.
I am not writing this post to toot my own horn or so that I’ll get hundreds of comments with people telling me how wise and amazing we are. I’m writing this post because I am positive there are other people out there who are struggling to make ends meet and who need some encouragement that it can be done! I’ve been there! I work for a non profit and my husband has dealt with under-employment, so I guarantee we aren’t sitting on piles of cash. 🙂
Now that I’ve gone on forever about that, let’s get to the fun part! I have four tips that have consistently helped me save 35-40% on our grocery bill every year. I believe that some of the principles by which I shop for groceries end up spilling over into other areas of spending as well. Here they are!
- Buy only what is on sale.
- Make coupons work for you. (part one, two and three)
- Plan a weekly menu. (part one and two)
- Stick to a weekly grocery budget.
These tips work best when used all together, but you don’t have to begin them all at the same time. I didn’t! I will take one at a time over the next few days and explain how I made these tips work for me. I wish I could help everyone save 30% on their grocery bill in 2014, but I am pretty sure I can help you!
Are you ready to save some money? Come back tomorrow for tip #1!