Going to the grocery store shouldn’t break the bank

Grocery StoreConsidering how food is an essential staple for survival, why does it always feel like you’re breaking the bank purchasing groceries? Far more often than not, we find ourselves in a hurry, hungry, and just plain distracted when we are in the grocery store. Every time I deviate from my routine, I spend twice – if not more – than I normally would in a months’ time. Trust me when I say that I have had the jaw drop open when the cashier tells me my total more than once.

Over the years, I have experienced many life lessons on what not to do, and what to do, when it comes to buying groceries. Little by little, I have learned from my mistakes and improved on the techniques I have acquired.

I can say without a doubt, I am not one of those moms that can take coupon usage to the extreme. Those moms are literally amazing and I applaud them. Three of my children thought it was so cool when they saw a couple of episodes of “Extreme Couponing”, that they asked if we could give it a try. I am more than happy to give that a try, which means my routine will include more couponing than it already does. Luckily, the kids volunteered to cut out coupons for me. 🙂 Since they are motivated – then so am I.

Since I am also a stay at home mom, we only have one income source, so living within our means is vital to our livelihood.

We only go shopping twice a month. My two set shopping trips consist of multiple stores. I spend, at most, an hour of time preparing the night before.

What I can tell you is that we spend on average $400.00 – $450.00 dollars a month on food. For six people, that equals $13.33 – $15.00 per day, or $2.22 – $2.50 per person / per day.

Just in case you were wondering, we do eat good on that amount of money.

Here is my list, as follows, and in no particular order. I use them all together as a complete package. They all are self explanatory, but in case you need for me to elaborate more in-depth, please feel free to ask.

10 Super Easy Tips for Saving Money on Groceries

 

  1. Make a dinner menu

    Pre-plan your meals ahead of time, so you know what to buy (don’t go in there blind).

  2. Make a shopping list

    Simple, but most people don’t actually do this. Don’t forget to organize the items into groupings.

  3. Use coupons

    Cut ’em, tear ’em, rip ’em, chew ’em – just don’t forget to give them to the cashier.

  4. Buy in bulk

    Anything and everything you normally use.

  5. Buying when on sale

    You don’t do this? Check the ads

  6. Buy generic

    Get over the name-brand issue – it’s cheaper this way.

  7. Go shopping on a full stomach

    …or you’ll experience the “see food” diet.

  8. Limit the amount of times you go grocery shopping

    Grocery shopping is a pain in the ass, as-is – why make it worse?

  9. Pay close attention to the cost per ounce

    Most price tags list this, if your store’s doesn’t, make sure to bring along a calculator unless you’re an Einstein.

  10. Stay focused; don’t give into temptation

As with starting any new routine, it takes perseverance and practice. If you are motivated to give these a try, please let me know how they have worked out for you.

If you happen to fall into the jaw dropping, “are you kidding me?” total that makes your skin crawl, don’t give up because there will always be another chance waiting for you to succeed. Motivation is the key.

I am curious to know what other moms do for their grocery shopping routine. Please let us know. I’m sure everyone would love to hear all about it.

When having a credit card is actually necessary

Credit CardMy husband and myself are firm believers in paying off debt while not incurring new debt. Now of course, with that being said, we also don’t own any credit cards.

We normally budget out things that we would like to purchase and put the money into savings. In a way, we are acting as our own line of credit.

Here recently, I realized that not only owning a credit card was a good thing, but also vital.

You see, it all started with the unexpected death of my uncle. Since there are no direct flights without driving a couple of hours to my destination for the funeral, I would need a rental car. Granted, getting a rental car is by no means difficult, unless of course, you don’t have a credit card. Now, in my defense, I do have a check card with the Visa logo on it and a plenty high enough daily allowance. Even with that being the case, I came to find out that most car rental agencies don’t accept debit cards without an additional deposit, but that is all they require.

The part of the whole rental car situation that gave me the creeps was that they also wanted to do a credit check. Of course, not a soft credit check, but rather one that dings your credit score. Honestly, why in the world would they need to do a credit check when they can put the funds for the deposit on hold?

I asked over and over, why does doing a credit check make any sense? All I was ever told was that they needed to make sure that I was credit worthy and reliable. While yes, they may have a point, that also opens a whole new can of worms. Meaning, an individual may have a credit card – but yet not be credit worthy or reliable.

At a time when people are trying to be responsible and eliminate their debt, they are also being punished for not owning credit cards by their own choice.

Does anybody else see how this is a backwards way of thinking?

With all that being said, I did not get the rental car since there was no reason to have my credit score damaged by them checking to see whether I was “credit worthy and reliable”. I also came to the conclusion, considering the recent events, that we maybe should have a credit card just for silly, mundane circumstances out of our control.