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My friend, Hillary, and I were talking the other day when she said, “Well, I have officially cut my grocery bill in half after I realized how much I was spending each month on groceries— it was crazy.”
Below, you’ll find Hillary’s story with the tips that she created to save money on groceries: Five simple steps to cut your grocery bill in half! They are simple, and quick, and do not include cutting coupons!
I realized the biggest non-fixed expense in my monthly budget was…my groceries!
The numbers were appalling— like appalling to the point that I was honestly embarrassed. I had known for a while that my grocery spending was likely where most of my expendable income was going (which, in and of itself, was pretty bad), but I was afraid to really sit down and be honest with just how much I was spending.
I have never been (and am still not) a frivolous spender.
I don’t just go shopping for clothes on a whim; we don’t eat out often, and I’ve been wearing the same sneakers for two years (and that includes doing workouts 4-5 days a week in those sneakers.)
Plus, on top of my natural tendencies, I was instilled with a sense of frugality. So, I knew that just going and spending this amount of money on groceries was crazy.
I hadn’t always been this way: When I first got married, I scoured the sales ads for deals. I cut every coupon imaginable, and my grocery list (which I always made) sent me all around town shopping to get the best price for everything from grapes to meat.
AND THEN… KIDS HAPPENED.
When our first child was born, it took me a while to get the whole mom thing down. I mean, I felt super accomplished if I was able just to shower, nurse her and actually make it to one store for groceries.
When we had a second baby, grocery shopping started to get out of control. I mean, going to the grocery store with a potty-training toddler and a nursing baby in tow meant all that was important was getting in and out of that store in 20 minutes or less. If I came out with actual food, it was a win-win.
However… even as our kids got older, my slacker habits remained (even though grocery shopping actually got easier.)
Why was my grocery bill so high? Here’s What I Was Doing Wrong:
- Choosing to shop in “pretty” stores that had free cookies and fun shopping carts for our kids.
- Shopping WITHOUT a list.
- “Grocery” Shopping in a megastore with MANY appealing departments outside of
groceries… think Target and how their awesome clothes section & home decor areas get your attention even when you are just there for groceries.
- Trying to do all of my shopping in just one store.
- Shopping WITH my kids!
- Making multiple trips to the grocery store throughout the week – for items we forgot or ran out of… which inevitably resulted in me buying MORE than what I had originally gone in for.
I knew this trend couldn’t continue. And what’s more, it didn’t bring me any joy because I spent so much time worrying about how much I was spending and not knowing how to change it.
5 Changes I Made (Very Simple) to Spend 50% Less on Groceries
These have resulted in me spending LESS than 50% of what I was spending before on groceries.
1. I BASICALLY “QUIT” TARGET.
I love Target, everything about it. The pretty pictures, the cute clothes, the beautiful housewares that make my house look modern and clean. However, because of that, I would go into Target for groceries and walk out with much, MUCH more. So, I realized I couldn’t do regular shopping trips at Target (unless I was going there for a purpose other than to get groceries).
2. I QUIT SHOPPING WITH MY KIDS
I decided to quit shopping with my kids – at least most weeks. I am a full-time stay-at-home mom and rarely spend time away from my kids. However, I realized that they were helping to wreck my budget. I was so distracted trying to keep them content during my grocery shopping trip, that I lost most of my ability to rationalize what we did and did not need.
So now, on Saturday morning, I work out at 8 am, finish by 8:45 am, and leave to hit all my grocery stores. I am usually home and unpacking by 11:00 am at the latest. Plus, this gives my hubby some real quality time with the girls that he doesn’t get during the week.
3. I DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT A LIST & A MEAL PLAN.
Trying to buy a few staples and hoping I could piece together dinners for a week was not working for me at all. I would either end up at the store again on a Monday or, worse, spend even more money on us all going out to eat.
So now I spend about 15 minutes each week and make up my grocery list. I plan 4-5 meals and make sure I have ALL the ingredients on my shopping list. As an added bonus, I don’t have to wonder what we are having each night because it’s already planned out!
4. I GAVE UP ON THE “ONE-STORE FOR EVERYTHING” DREAM
No ONE store can give me the best deals and the best variety of products. At the same time, I don’t want to drive all over town buying everyone’s B1G1 deals.
What I Do Each Week (stores & shopping):
- I buy about 8-10 items (each week) from Sam’s Club (Gatorade, rotisserie chicken, snacks, etc). This is about 10% of my grocery list.
- I then head to Aldi – perhaps the best grocery chain in the world!! Hands down, this is the lowest-priced grocery store I have ever found. A full cart (like over-flowing full) usually averages about $100. Plus- their products are great. They carry only their own product line, and I have never been disappointed. In fact, I often prefer their “generic” products most of the time. They don’t always have specialty items, but I buy 80% of my grocery list at Aldi.
- I then go to Walmart for the last 10% of my list. Yes, Walmart is a superstore, but it just doesn’t appeal to me the way that Target does. I rarely get sidetracked here – I’m in and out the door with just my list of items.
5. GROCERY SHOP ONE TIME FOR THE WEEK
Once-a-week grocery shopping means that I don’t run to the store in the middle of the week unless it’s a real necessity. My kids now know if they eat their favorite cereal all up in the first three days, they will be having oatmeal or eggs or English Muffins until the following Saturday.
And that’s it! Pretty simple, huh?
I DON’T cut coupons.
I DON’T use sales ads to base my meal plans on for the week.
And I DON’T spend more than a couple hours each week on my grocery list, meal plans, AND grocery shopping.
Yet these five simple tricks have lowered our monthly grocery spending budget by 50%. Try it today – you will be amazed at how much you’ll save!