If you’re getting debt free or are already debt free but want to live a life in which money isn’t spent on overpriced silly purchases at the grocery store (and maybe, like me, prefer to save and spend on more unforgettable things like travel as a family), then read on for ideas on what to cut.
We’ve been debt free for most of our marriage, but at times we’ve gotten sloppy in the grocery buying area of the budget. Wasting money on groceries to me is especially loathsome because so much of what we buy at the grocery store is what I call “forgettable” – money we spend on overpriced or wasted groceries is so quickly forgotten. What if we knew a couple tricks to save a LOT at the grocery store and could instead put that money towards something unforgettable?
My overspending at the grocery store was not on sumptuous steaks or fine cheeses (though there’s been a bit of that at times), so much as simply undisciplined timing of buying items, therefore getting stuff when it wasn’t at its lowest possible price, justifying silly purchases in the name of convenience, and those mistakes add up in the budget fast.
These are some items I nixed from our grocery budget or found a more budget friendly version:
- Carbonated water (for some reason, I thought that because I didn’t buy the pricier Perrier glass bottled carbonated water, the cases of canned carbonated water “pretty much didn’t matter much budget wise; after all, it was for hydration“)
- Overpriced vegetables. Health is so important! Yes! Again, health is so important! But you can eat on a budget, yet still eat health consciously. But notice details, very significant to the budget details, like organic fruits and vegetables are clearanced every day at my national Kroger chain store in my neighborhood.
(I didn’t notice this for the first number of years I shopped there. Call if you’re not sure if your grocery store does this or not. Ask them what time of day they clearance produce, bakery items, meat, specifically organic or more naturally processed meats – organic ground lamb was recently discounted from $8.99/pound to $2.99/pound at my local Kroger chain store)
I buy the clearanced bags of produce now or snatch up the loss leaders – they’re generally advertised on the front page of the store’s paper. They’re designed to get you in the store, even though the store will lose some money on those items, they’re confident, once they have you in their store, they’re gonna take you to the cleaners on their many steeply overpriced items.
- Salad kits – make them yourself for cheaper or find them on clearance a day or two before their sell by date. (If you’re making a salad yourself, don’t hesitate to look at the contents of those kits for inspiration, but go buy the ingredients elsewhere in the store, not in the overpriced, convenient bag unless clearanced).
- Wine – instead of buying wine at our favorite vineyard or even consistently purchasing bottles on discount at the regular store I do my grocery shopping at, I get Carlo Rossi jug wine for our table wine.My husband and I love our wine. We are members at a vineyard and go sometimes daily in the summertime to enjoy wine, good friends and picnics. However for some ordinary, straightforward table wine to accompany dinner (even before coupons and rebates) Carlo Rossi brand is 2 cents per mL. That is unbeatable. We didn’t want to give up our wine with dinner, but we wanted to give up the price tag that usually accompanied it.
- Deli meats – so overpriced. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a deli meat sandwich and thought, “no matter the cost of that sandwich, that was worth spending!”
Deli meats are great, convenient, even tasty, but I would definitely not place them in my “Unforgettable Spending” category like I would a special date with my husband, an excursion with my kids or a family vacation.Now I wait til it gets clearanced. You can freeze deli meat, so don’t hesitate to stock up when you see those 99 cents/pound deals. Again, call and ask your grocer when this happens so you can take full advantage of the sale prices, not miss the inventory nor waste time going back and forth to your grocery store checking.
These are some of the ways we took our $1500/month grocery bill down to $233/month while feeding a family of six delicious food.