And that I did as well as I did. I’ll be honest, when I first started the challenge and set the goal of $300 per month, down from $425-450 that we had been spending, I didn’t think I would get even close. . . not only did I make 2 out of the 3 months (and the 3rd month was only $7 over). . .
I have changed the way that our family spends money at the grocery store. A skill that we will use to continue to help us save money forever. Now, that is going to be worth a lot of money over the years.
Even though the challenge is over, I am still using cash at the store and using the envelope to keep track of spending. . .
I took Scott and Luke to the grocery store this weekend with $100 in cash to get us food from Sam’s Club and Cub Foods. Along with a few coupons from Cub and a fairly decent grocery list. . . I knew it would be close, but that we could do it. <—I had just completed 3 months of my grocery challenge, of course I could do this! Famous last words.
First up: Sam’s. Typical buys – milk, eggs, fruit. Total spent: $27.02.
Not bad, right? Over $72 left to spend at the grocery store.
And it was going ok. . . things were adding up. I was keeping track of our total on my iPhone. Quite a few staples were on sale, so we were getting more than what was on my list.
And I had our total up to $85.
We have credit cards, so we can still pay for groceries, but I wanted to stick to our cash that we had left.
So, we decided to take our haul through the self service lane. *mistake* I had a full cart of stuff, which annoyed people in line behind me. I use my own bags that the self service lane always has issues with.. . I think the manager had to come help us no fewer than 8 times! And I was ringing things up to try to figure out what we weren’t going to have to put back to make our cash goal. . .
Only to get to the very end (we ended up putting cherries – spendy! – back), and for me to realize that I had grabbed the wrong $5 off $50 or more coupon. . . there were 2 at home, one for the 1st part of the month and one for the 2nd part.
I seriously almost started crying. We ended up putting a can of Amy’s tomato soup back (super good if you have never had it, but a little spendy). . . and we finally made our goal.
Total spent: $72.18.
$0.80 to spare. If that’s not cutting it close, I don’t know what it.
So, while I am happy that we persevered and stuck to our cash spending goal, the entire trip was way more stress producing than a trip to the grocery store should be. . . But the money we are saving does add up and is worth it.
So, what I am going to keep doing in the future?
Here were my original goals for the challenge. . .
- Use Pantry/freezer items
- Buy staples only on sale
- Buy only what is needed for the week ahead
- One weekly trip to the store(s)
- Menu plan weekly and start by looking at the pantry, freezer and fridge and seeing what I can work with that we already have or will go bad soon
- Start using coupons – I started following our local grocery stores (HyVee and Cub Foods) on Twitter and signed up for weekly emails from Cub Foods and I am going to start checking out some online coupon sites.
- Go vegetarian for one dinner each week
- Take Jodi’s advice and check out Wal-Mart for cheaper prices
- Continue to bring my own bags – it’s only 5 cents, but each little bit helps, right?
And I had the most success with:
- Using the pantry/fridge/freezer items for meal planning before going to the grocery store
- Buying only what is needed for the week ahead
- Using cash only
- Keeping cash in an envelope in the kitchen and keeping track of spending and totals for the month
- Buying staples on sale or with coupons –> I kept a list of staples that we needed and checked prices/sales when I was at the store
- I didn’t specifically make a plan to eat vegetarian weekly, but we usually did – normally something with eggs. ..
I am going to continue doing the things that I started doing during the challenge to keep our grocery bill under control. If you are going to try a few things to lower your grocery bill, the things that were the most successful for me are:
- Using cash/keeping cash in an envelope in the kitchen.
- Using the pantry/fridge/freezer to meal plan and only buying what is needed for the week ahead.
Have you ever had a melt down at the grocery store? Any tips for saving money?