Our strategy for saving on groceries
Until we did our spending analysis, we were spending up to $400 a week on groceries and up to $400 a week dining out. $42,000 a year! WTF?! That’s why saving on groceries was critical for our financial success. Get all 10-steps, plus our grocery list & menu templates here in the Budget Buster Bundle.
Saving on groceries made us debt free
It’s ridiculous that we were spending more on groceries for two people than the average family of four. This also includes our wine budget, but that’s another story.
WTH were we doing?
By the way, this was the time in our lives when we were our fittest. So, while we were probably eating more than the average, grown man to pack on muscle, we weren’t over-eating – I don’t think.
After we did our spending analysis, we knew we had to change our grocery shopping and dining behaviors. Here’s what we did.
We went from buying whatever, whenever and whatever amount we wanted with no grocery list or weekly menu to being super meticulous grocery shoppers. We based our weekly grocery list and corresponding menu on coupons and weekly sales.
Our first few weeks of this strategy took up to three hours. We soon created a process, and grocery shopping became a lot easy and faster. But, know that there’s a learning curve. Once you get yours down, it will not only save you money but time as well.
#1 Shop on optimal days
First, we subscribed to the Sunday paper because they include packs of coupons. We started clipping and filing our coupons, and we quickly had a sizeable and diverse arsenal of coupons. Today we use other awesome tools that help us save digitally.
Then, we went to each of our grocery stores’ websites to check in-store sales.
Armed with our coupons and in-store sales info and knowing what we already had in our kitchen, we created our weekly menu. Our one goal was to buy very little, if anything, at full price. Our second goal was to waste no food. Which brings up point #2.
#2 Create a menu and grocery list
We reviewed our fridge and cabinets as the launching point for our menu for the week allowing us to use up anything we didn’t eat the previous week rather than let it rot and throw it out.
Once we had breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinners planned for that week based on the above process, we’d create a grocery list of what we needed for the week but didn’t already have.
When we went shopping, we religiously stuck to our grocery list and proudly used our coupons. It helped to have our coupons clipped together per store, three stores in our area at the time. We, also, used our own bags to get the bag-discount. We were looking to save every penny.
#3 Shop once a week
We know exactly what it’s like, you’re driving home, have no clue what’s in the fridge or cabinets, so you stop to pick up a few things. You decide on a menu in your head, shop and boom, you’ve spent $50 getting everything (some things you already have but forgot) to create a one time meal.
Each of these single trips adds up and wrecks your food budget.
How we saved $30,000 a year
While this sounds hard, we made it fun by making a game of it. Each week we tried to save a greater percentage than the previous week. Our best was 62% savings. We weren’t as sleuth as Extreme Couponing, we didn’t have the storage space to basically horde food, but we did a hell of a lot better than we ever had before with our new grocery savings strategy.
Our strategy for saving on food saved us tons of money that we then put towards our credit card debt. Saving on groceries expedited our quest to become debt free to the tune of $30,000!
Previously we were spending about $42,000 on dining out and groceries, much of which went on credit cards. After our strategy, we ate mostly at home and cut our grocery spend to about $100 a week. We even created a menu of 42 Meals for Less Than $100. On top of that, we focused on lower-cost quick casual for dining out and cut that budget to about $75 a week. That put us at about a $9,000 spend for dining out and groceries, a whopping $30,000 plus a year.
You can do it, too!
It’ll take a minute to get conscious and strategic about your grocery shopping but, you’ll that it will save you a lot of money that is better used for paying off debt or saving in a retirement account. Start saving on groceries today and start living better today!