You may have noticed a bit of a trend ’round these parts as of late: Food.
I love food.
Unfortunately, it can get wildly pricey. While I have only written about the cost of food a few times, I have been putting a lot of mental effort toward thinking about food and the cost of groceries. For me, it always feels like two steps forward and one step back. Last Sunday I bought a bag of oranges. By Friday, the entire bag was moldy. Boooo. There are downsides to living in a small town, and that, my friends, is one of them. Oranges are supposed to last for quite awhile!
I mentioned food going off before it should as one of my tips in How to Spend an Obscene Amount of Money On Groceries. I wish it didn’t happen, but it does. This week I only bought three oranges and they are already diced up into a fruit salad. If the strawberries in that fruit salad go gross and wreck everything else, I’m going to be pretty PO’d.
My Biggest Expenditure is Food
For us, food is our largest expenditure (savings aren’t an expenditure). So cutting our food costs by 10%, which is completely doable, puts more money back into the savings pot. I don’t always have the motivation to do it, but in theory, I know how to reduce those costs. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been putting more of an effort into dropping our food costs.
One of the results was my impromptu experiment, where I skipped buying groceries for an entire week! It was quite successful.
As soon as you focus on something, you can make it happen. The tricky part is getting to the focus. We also just had another wrench thrown into the plans due to some more discoveries about what we can and cannot eat. I am back to the drawing board for breakfasts, once again. If you have high-protein, non-dairy, non-egg, non-bean suggestions, I am all ears! (Please, pretty please!)
Some Big Savings
After my no-grocery-shopping experiment, I was on a roll. That saved me a lot of money, but it’s rather difficult to follow up $0.
How about saving $73 on a week’s worth of groceries?
That’s a solid amount of savings! If I could do that every week, I would be saving in the neighbourhood of $316 a month, or $3800 per year!
That’s not going to happen, because I can’t buy such a tiny amount of food every single week, but I will take it when I can get it.
The week after I skipped buying groceries, I tried really, really hard to stick to meals that were based on what I already had. I wanted to buy the absolute minimum amount of groceries possible, and once I approached it that way, it really wasn’t that difficult. I spent around $73 less than normal on my Sunday afternoon shopping trip.
That’s a HUGE difference, my friends. I’ll take that win. You can do it, too! That week, I bought some produce and that was basically it. I picked meals that used proteins we already had on hand, sauces we had on hand, nuts and seeds we had on hand, and some rice that we already had. It’s pretty awesome to go to the store and basically be done shopping as soon as you’ve hit up the produce section (I had to buy some deodorant, too).
Aim to buy the bare minimum this week and see how it goes.
How You Can Do It Too
It’s weird when there is a confluence of events that really brings one thing into focus. I have been thinking about groceries for a few weeks, and then all of a sudden, I heard about the Grocery Budget Makeover.
This post contains affiliate links.
Perhaps you have heard of Erin, from $5 Dinners? She has all sorts of crazy useful and affordable things on her website. She has also just launched a whole new site, called the Grocery Budget Makeover.
It does what it says on the tin. The Grocery Budget Makeover is a 13 week course, designed to help you cut your grocery budget by 20%-50%! A lot of us know, in theory, what we need to be doing in order to drop our grocery expenses, but still keep not getting around to it. Erin’s got a solution for that. Sign up for her course and stake out a small chunk of time each week to drastically drop your food costs. We’re talking 20-30 minutes per week. Totally doable for the return you can get!
It’s Way More than Just “Clip Coupons”
I’ve seen the first few weeks of the course and it’s pretty delightful. This is more than “look for local coupons.” Erin gets to the heart of how you emotionally engage with grocery shopping, sets you up for success when you have a busy schedule and just need to get something, anything on the table for the night, and gives you doable challenges.
With a lot of financial change, we want to go from zero to hero, and that’s just not possible. When we’re used to living one lifestyle, we can’t drastically change it overnight. The Grocery Budget Makeover acknowledges that and spends the 13 weeks developing new habits and skills, so that you can change your spending and planning habits.
Bit by bit, we learn new things. And that’s exactly how Erin approaches it.
She’s going to take a core group of people through this. Having seen several weeks of the course, I can definitely recommend it. The cost works out to about $3 per week… which you can definitely earn back with your savings. You’ll be focusing on it. You’ll save that no problem.
Imagine sitting down once a week and knowing you’re making a difference to your bottom line. Not hoping, or trying, but taking the bull by the horns and saving yourself money! Plus, saving yourself money in a way that you can repeat, week after week.
It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of making it happen, and getting the tools to make it easier.
Here’s the Catch
Having peeps going through the exact same thing as you is key. You’ve got people to chat with, people to vent with and people to celebrate with. The Grocery Budget Makeover is only available for registration from May 11 until May 18, 2015, so that everybody starts at the same time. We’ll all be partners in (savings) crime!
If you’ve got questions, and you probably do, you can take a look at some FAQs and check out the pricing, on this page of the Grocery Budget Makeover.
I’ll be there. Want to join me? Go take a look.
Let me know if you do and I’ll be on the lookout for you!