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 bragging...at 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?????)
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