In the last few months, the hubs and I have committed to reducing our expenses so that we can become financially independent, thus giving our family the flexibility to travel and take on new adventures (you can read about our journey to financial independence on hubs’ blog), so to support that endeavor we’ve been looking at all of our spending. And man, we spend a LOT of money on groceries!
We’ve started buying in bulk at Costco, but when I saw this pin from Ruth at Living Well Spending Less, I was intrigued. We’ve had some success with coupons in the past, but Ruth gives 5 tips about ways to cut your grocery bill — and only one of those tips refers to coupons. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of her post…
- It’s Not About the Coupons… “Always, always, always buy food when it is on sale. And by this I mean really on sale, as in 30-50% off the regular price”
- Stockpile, Stockpile, Stockpile… “Most items go on sale every 6-8 weeks, which means you need to buy enough to last your family that long… because you are shopping the sales each week, you will be buying a larger quantity of a smaller variety of items, which means your overall grocery bill will still go down. The goal is to build up your own mini-grocery store in your pantry which you can then use to plan your family’s meals.”
- Eat Less Meat… “Meat costs usually account for a significant portion of people’s grocery bills, so cutting out even a little will make a big difference over time.”
- Change the Way You Meal Plan… “Instead of running to the store for your dinner supplies you’ll be able to run to your stockpile–a ready-made grocery store right in your own home.”
- Learn to Match Coupons to Store Sales… “Coupons can and do save you a ton of money on your grocery bill, but only if you follow these other steps first.”
So the last couple of weeks I’ve tried out Ruth’s method. The first week was kind of half-assed – I used my pre-planned list (we’re a “plan the week’s meals out on Sunday afternoon” kind of family), I didn’t really stockpile but I did luck out and stumbled upon some great sales. The next week I decided to go in full-on Ruth mode and didn’t take a list to the store with me.
And let me tell you… THAT WAS AWKWARD. Like I said, I’m a LIST kinda girl when it comes to the grocery runs. Walking around the grocery store trying to figure out what the good sales were and just stockpiling sale items because they were there – I felt like I was walking around with my undies showing and everyone else knew except me. BUT, I did rake up some big savings – $23 the first time, $35 the second and $6 on the third quick trip. Granted, I no longer know what I’m making for dinner every night, but I’m starting to see how Ruth’s approach can help save a lot of money.
I’m going to continue this approach for the next month or so – I’ll be sure to update this post when I’ve got a few more insights on how well this starts working for us in the long run!
What about you? What do you think of Ruth’s recommendations? Share your favorite tips for saving at the grocery store in the comments section!
Also, I submitted this post as part of the very fun and very cool Pin Tester Movement. Be sure to check out pins that other folks have tried… And next round submit your own!