Saturday, February 20, 2010

Grocery Shopping

This has always been a favorite task of mine because a) I love Walmart, b) I love food, and c) having a house full of food makes me feel so wonderful.

Having said that, we've been experimenting with a new system lately. I'd like to share it...hesitantly, because I really don't want to be the same time, I KNOW that many of us are looking for ways to cut down on costs. So here goes:

Joel and I have been following many of Dave Ramsey's ideas as far as how to manage our finances. We follow a spending plan each month that allows us to decide how every dollar we make will be spent BEFORE we spend it. This has virtually eliminated fighting about money. It feels so good to be on the same page with it--what we're spending, how we're spending it, and what we're saving for.

But something new we're trying since October is using cash for groceries.

We budget $425 a month for food--this includes about $25 that we save monthly for our yearly purchase of a quarter of a cow for beef. So about $400 to spend on eating out and groceries (which also includes toiletries/hair products/toilet paper/etc.)

This was starting to be a bit tricky. So in October we decided to try using only cash for food. If it worked--great! If not, we'd start budgeting a little more each month for food, no biggie. But guess what we found--IT TOTALLY WORKS! In fact, we save about $30 a month spending cash, instead of Debit cards.

Here's what we do:

1. Each month, we get our $400 cash and put it in our handy-dandy Dave Ramsey cash envelopes. (we only do this for food, though)2. Second, anytime we buy food, it comes out of that money.

3. Before shopping, I write down what we'll be eating for the next week to 10 days.

4. Then I make a list. I'm a bit anal in this area...but it works for me. Not only do I write down ONLY what we'll need for that week, (of course, though, my vanilla bean latte IS a need...) I also write down in parentheses next to it how much that item will cost. Then, I tally it all up to see what my total will likely be. Surprisingly, I am usually within a couple bucks of this!

This takes a little work...but for me, it's easier than doing coupons or shopping around for deals. I know some people have great luck with that...but for me, it's too much work.

If you are looking for a way to cut costs and save a little money--I challenge you to try this. Seriously. It has worked WONDERS for us.

And guess what--after doing my last shopping trip for the month this morning, I have $15 extra money to use for what we want!!! (Can you say DRUBERS?????)


Amy W said...

Sounds like a great plan. I just started doing the coupon thing recently, and it does seem to take a lot more time than it's worth - even with all the blogs that have done all the work to tell you what's on sale where and which coupon to use. I might give your system a try since we mostly shop at Walmart too!

Amy said...

We used to do cash for groceries... but we've gotten away from it. I've debated starting up again, though. Glad you've found a system that works for you!

p.s. What kind of pudding do you buy that costs $91?! :)

Marc, Sarah, and Luke said...

We have a similar plan in this household (with cash, of course), and it has worked for us. But, as you know, I started grocery shopping at Dillon's this past month. So far, it hasn't really costed us anymore, and it's an enjoyable experience. I too meal plan (on a weekly basis) and make a list off of that. Thanks for sharing. I hope more at least give it a try.

Anonymous said...

I think it's hysterical that Dave Ramsey, the one who preaches to spend only on 'needs' sells these envelope system things on his website.

But on a more positive note, it sounds like you have a very workable plan. The way I curb grocery costs is to make a list and send my husband to the grocery store. He doesn't make impulse buys like I do. It's saved us a bundle over the years!

Richard and Anna said...

We are using the Ramsey method for grocery shopping too! I have been doing it for about a year and a half and just love it!

Glad it's working for you guys too!

The Perfect Trio said...

we also use FPU envelope system. we love it! like you said, it eliminates so much arguing over money. and it also helps our marriage in the sense that we sit down and communicate!!!

keep up the good work!!!

amyflew said...

Sounds like my family. My husband and I made a commitment on the first of the year to start using cash for all of our grocery/misc. items each month. We give outselves $400 a month, which for now seems to be working out well. We used to have a budget before that but always used our debit card. I must say I find myself being much more financially responsible when I have to hand over that cash each time to do a transaction. Love all the helpful advice and encouragement I have found from so many of you after I started following each of you via The Macs blog. Keep up the good work!