Some of you may be tired of hearing about how cheap we’re really trying to become. For those people- Sorry Charlie! You may want to get used to it since we’re totally committed. How committed you might ask? VERY. So committed that I bring a calculator with us to the grocery store. GASP!
You see, we are on a “spending plan”. I heard someone call it this recently. A blogger said they hated the word “budget” and the vile taste it gives people so he chose to call it a “spending plan” because that’s what it really is. I agree. Basically, every time we get paid we spend all our money on paper. We decide what to spend on the bills, pocket money, groceries, gas, eating out, birthdays, etc. That way we know what we’re spending on what and what we’re doing with our money. We’re getting really good at it too!
Okay, back to our grocery visits on our “spending plan”. First thing you should know is that we’ve never been good at grocery shopping. I really didn’t start cooking until about 2 years ago. Before that we ate out A LOT. I mean, I would go weeks without cooking a single meal. I am not exaggerating. Since we didn’t cook often, we didn’t go to the grocery that often either. When we did go, it would be every 4 to 6 weeks and we’d spend $300. The sad part is that there’s only 2 people in my household! We’d buy a cart full (and I mean rounded over the top of the cart) of stuff and drag it all home. We’d cram every cabinet and freezer shelf full and half the stuff we’d end up throwing out because we wouldn’t eat it and it would expire. I am ashamed of the food we wasted. Well, those days are LONG over!
Now, we go to the grocery every week. We only buy food for that one week. We also bring CASH to the grocery store and we only spend the cash we bring. Bringing cash really changes how we shop. Now, before we even leave the house, we decide what meals we will prepare that week. We’ve budgeted that we can eat out 2 nights per week at usually $20 a pop so I plan for 3-4 prepared meals at home per week and we may “fend for yourself” the other night or we’ll have leftovers. I look to see what ingredients for those meals we already have and what we need to buy. I write out a list. Shocking, I know. Hubby is practicing patience with me. He often doesn’t want to decide what we’re going to eat all week and on which days but he’s doing WAY better. I have to do this so I know what we have to buy. Buying food for only that week also helps us figure out how many meals we will actually have to prepare that week. I also look through all my coupons, throw away those that are expired and pull out the ones I know I’m going to use. I bring all of the coupons with me but I try to pull out the ones I know I’ll be using.
Now, we finally get to the store. Hubby and I go shopping together. I know most husbands don’t like the grocery but mine has THE best attitude. We actually have a lot of fun in the grocery. Pointing out the cans of “Big John’s Pork & Beans” and the cans of “Spotted Dick” crack me up just like Hubby cracks himself up with putting the giant English cucumbers and whole sticks of peperoni in the cart. Yes, we’re dorks.
So, I’m armed with my coupons and my list and THIS is where the dedication comes in. As we shop, I write down the price of everything on my list. If it’s not already on my list, I add it and put the price of each item. This means you actually have to weigh your produce and know how much everything is. You also have to know if your store has a “buy one get one free sale” if the first one is full price and the second one rings up free or if they are both half price. At our Publix, they’re both half price so we only buy 1 and get the sale price on it. That is unless I have a coupon that requires us to buy two of the item and then I can REALLY get some savings when it’s already buy one get one free! Yes, dorky stuff like this now excites me!
Once we’re about two thirds through the store, and buying mostly just what’s on the list, I’ll stop and add up everything and see where we are. Then, as each new item goes into the cart, I continue to watch the total. If, we go over the amount of cash we have with us – something gets put back. Actually, we’ve not had to do this yet so I am very proud!
Yes, grocery shopping takes a lot longer, requires more patience and much more organization but it’s totally worth it. We now spend about $100 – 120 per week on groceries and we haven’t thrown out any food item since we started! We don’t let $9 packages of chicken sit in the fridge and then go bad. I am very proud of us. You may be thinking, if we would only spend $300 every four to six weeks at the grocery before starting our “spending plan”, we really aren’t saving money. You would be WRONGO! The big difference is we’re only spending about $40 per week eating out which is WAY WAY less than we used to spend in ADDITION to our $300 grocery bill.
So, those dorky people roaming, slowly through the grocery store with coupons, lists and calculators in hand, YEP – that’s us! 🙂