Trimming Tuesday is back. One of my goals this year was to figure out how to control our grocery spending. I found that even though I planned some of the time, I did not plan all of the time. The nights when it was last minute would mean eating out or pizza. Costco trips sometimes ended up a bit out of control – even if I bought things I would use – eventually.
So for the New Year we decided that was a category that would benefit from the cash budget. I pulled out cash at the beginning of the month. It is in an envelope. That is what is allocated for the month for all food – that means eating out as well, and liquor. It even includes items like diapers.
It is January 16th and right now I have food through Friday night the 20th. I then have about $50 of that money left in the envelope for the last 11 days of the month. Needless to say, this challenge has been eye opening. Now granted, a large part of why we are down more than I would like is that I had to buy not only diapers, but prilosec… and we decided since the prilosec was on sale, to go ahead and buy two boxes of it. Those two boxes not being purchased would pretty much double what I have left for the rest of the month.
Now it really isn’t as dire as I am making it sound - I actually have enough meat for the rest of the month (probably) frozen in the freezer, and I have a couple cans of beans too, and a big bag of rice … so mostly that money needs to buy fresh items like fruit and veggies. So while it will be tight and a close call – I think I can manage fine. Definitely means no family meals out for this month.
One thing I use to help with the meal planning is E-mealz. I’ve talked about them before – for $5 month they help you plan your meals based on your grocery and that groceries specials for the week. What I am getting better at is filling in meals based on what we already have in the house so things do not go to waste.
Also, I am not someone who tends to do extreme couponing. I tend to only use coupons that are easily found online. I am however being more aware of the available coupons, as well as the BOGO weeks. [I love Publix BOGO.] This month though, even with a tight remaining budget – I did spend the money to buy a Sunday paper to dig through for coupons to help us get through those last 11 days.
Another benefit to this meal planning and budget – I have only eaten out once this month, for a business lunch. I am eating much less processed foods and haven’t had fast food a single time. I have lost 3 pounds in two weeks and that is before I started my exercise training for the 5k (1st workout today felt great!)
So far this challenge is … well a challenge. However, the results – the feeling good about losing weight, the feeling good about saving money… learning and opening my eyes… has been very rewarding.
How do you save money on your groceries?