I recently wrote about Mint.com and how I started using the site to track our personal finances. After a few weeks I am still very impressed with Mint and the ability to track daily transactions for our bank accounts and our credit cards. In fact, I think it has already saved us about $500 a month in our living expenses. I actually enjoy games and challenges and have started to establish some tight restrictions on spending categories. My goal is to be more aggressive and start saving more money with our grocery budget. I feel that with a little work I can make some smarter decisions with our grocery item and still buy quality food for our family. I’m not willing to sacrifice quality, but I will drive a little further for a bargain.
How did we save $200 on groceries in January? Since I abandoned my old excel spreadsheet I was able to watch our transactions hit Mint the very next day. This allowed me to track spending more closely and defer or hold off on several purchases. For instance, our grocery budget was set to $500 which might seem a bit high for a family of 4, but still well below our average of $600-$700. As we approached the $500 in our food budget I would buy only the necessities to make it through the end of the month. Milk, eggs, cereal and some basics helped stretch our budget to $500 for groceries in January. I didn’t buy large containers of fresh fruit from Costco and stayed away from store bought cookies or soda. In fact my wife bought an ice cream maker and we have been enjoying some wonderful treats. Could I save even more each month? Sure. You might be feeding your family of 4 for far less and I would love to hear your feedback on your personal budget. Could I be using the cash envelope system to help lower my grocery bills? Probably, but I’m happy to see the progress so far with over $100-$200 in grocery savings.
We didn’t use coupons and I’m actually very bad at clipping coupons from the newspaper and trying to find coupons for products we actually use each month. I remember when we were first married that I would fall for buying items just because we had a coupon. I think I bought a huge bottle of Tums when we were 25 years old. I think I ate two of them and finally threw the bottle away. Some of you coupon clippers could probably help me shed another $40 or more of my monthly grocery budget. I would appreciate any tips you might have. Any fun and easy website you would recommend would be appreciated.
We bought 90% of our groceries from Raley’s supermarket. This is not a discount grocery store like Walmart or FoodMaxx, but a regular grocery store chain. Could we save more by shopping at a deep discount store like FoodMaxx? Probably, and in February I plan to do most of our shopping at Foodmaxx. Why haven’t I done this before? Foodmaxx is about 10 miles from my house and it’s not convenient. I know I should probably buy more bulk items and go twice a month to save more money. Believe me, my frugal friends who have a $350 grocery budget remind me all the time. In case you are wondering, the other 10% of groceries are purchased from Costco. I mostly buy coffee and paper items from them. What is my food budget going to be for February? I’m hoping to spend $450 on groceries from Foodmaxx.
How about you? Are you making any changes to your grocery budget next month? How have you saved money on groceries? I would love to hear some of your stories.