I have a little bit of a confession. I am a serious grocery-shop-aholic. I’m not sure what it is exactly. Maybe I just really like spending money and grocery shopping gives me a regular and completely legitimate excuse. Maybe it’s the thrill of finding a good deal, or maybe it’s the fact that grocery shopping brings me one stop closer to one of my other passions: spending time in the kitchen.
Whatever it is, though, I am 100% sure that getting my grocery shopping habits under control is vital to getting out of debt.
So, we just finished reading Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, we cut up our credit card, we created a budget, and, cash in hand, I made my first venture to the grocery store as a woman with a plan. Now don’t get me wrong: I have made lists in the past. I have used coupons here or there, and I’ve tried to buy things on sale as often as possible. But this week marks the first week I will be shopping with no excuses in my back pocket for why I should splurge a little here or stray off my list a little there. Plans fail for lack of vision, and my vision is to pay off $15,000 of debt by the end of September 2012!
My grocery budget for my family of 3 is $115 a month, which at first sounded pretty outrageous, until I read about Jessica Fisher at Life As Mom who at one point had a $100 budget to feed 7. Whoa. Ok, I can do this.
Here are a few of the ways I hope to accomplish this:
1.) I am going to buy as many groceries as I can at Aldi. I remember as a kid driving with my mom thirty minutes just so shop at Aldi, but I haven’t really been since running my own household. I found some great, know-before-you-go tips for shopping at Aldi provided by Andrea over at The Savings Lifestyle.
2.) I am going to clip, clip, clip coupons. Besides things I get in a mail, I’ve found some really good coupons to print or load directly onto local grocery store’s loyalty card: the Kroger Plus Card. I use Coupons.com and Shortcuts.com frequently, along with checking my local stores’ websites for special store coupons.
3.) I am going to start scanning sales at local grocery stores and then pairing sales with coupons. A couple of people have already done a lot of the work for me by posting lists of store deals along with coupon match-ups on their blogs each week. I visit The Savings Lifestyle before hitting up Kroger, and Money Saving Mom before Target or Wal Mart. They also post for Meijer and several of the big drug stores.
4.) Using my list of coupons and sales (and a pretty good idea of what I already have in my pantry and freezer), I am going to start making a list of meals-breakfast, lunch, and dinner- for the week so that a.) I don’t have any more, “Oh my gosh its 5pm, what are we doing for dinner??” moments, and b.) I don’t have to make unnecessary trips to the store to pay full retail for ingredients I don’t have on-hand.
5.) I am going to stick to the plan!
Anybody have any other good tips or advice for keeping that grocery budget in check?