Home | Slashing Grocery Bills from $100 –> $75 Weekly

Slashing Grocery Bills from $100 –> $75 Weekly

by Heather

One of my big goals for September was to reduce our weekly grocery bill by $25.  We’re on a serious roll of paying off debt + bulking up our savings account.  Now that we’ve got a good start to it, with the assistance of my awesome weekly budget spreadsheet I created, I’m happy to report we’re actually paying off our first (little itty bitty) credit card this Friday.  Our snow ball begins!

I’m so-so-so very excited about that.  It’s a good path to be on, right?

There were and are a lot of different pieces contributing to us being able to move where our money goes.

  • Spending less: not buying things we absolutely don’t need
  • Not eating out:  we may go out to eat one a month, unless it’s a special occasion (anniversary, trip, b-day)
  • Working more:  I started teaching group fitness + Jacob does odd jobs
  • Spend less on groceries: this has decreased a TON since last year

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It was challenging for me to initially get my weekly food budget down to $100.  It wasn’t until Jacob put his food down and said that was all I got to spend.  I guess I needed someone else telling me what to do because my will power at the grocery store (love) wasn’t enough.  Now I’ve mastered spending $100 a week for all our groceries (including toiletries too).

I finally got around to setting up strategies for my grocery shopping trip over the weekend.  Better late than never!

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Step 1

First I made a list of all my items I buy at Costco.  That trip always throws my budget off.  I’ll skip going there for a few weeks then all of a sudden I’ll spend $70 bucks in one trip.  That’s not gunna work on a $75 weekly budget anymore.

So I made my list of what we get, then when I was at Costco I jotted down prices. 

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Now each week while I’m grocery planning I’ll do an inventory of what is out, or what will be out soon.  My hope is to only pick up 1 item each time I go to Costco. 

I work about 2 minutes from Costco so it’s no problem going there weekly.  Plus if I run in and out the trips are super fast.

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Step 2

Next I created our weekly meal plan.  Here I also made sure to look around our fridge + cupboards (which I first had  to organize!), to see what we already had on hand, plus what I could substitute in a recipe. 

Example: Quinoa & Bean Corn Chowder was on my list (so delicious), but the recipe called for canned pinto beans.  I had a small amount of cooked black beans left over + a small amount of dried pinto beans, so I used both.  It also called for roasted corn, but I had 2 ears of corn on the cob in my fridge so those were substituted in.  Instead of almond milk I used coconut milk that was already open in the fridge. 

Those simple substitutions easily saved me a few dollars. 

I’m not very good at following recipes anyway so planned substitutions work well for me.  After my meal plan was ready I was onto the next step.

Step 3

This is super easy.  I went to the ATM, pulled out $75 and put it in an envelope (or your wallet if you don’t keep other $$).  This is all there is to spend.

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Step 4

It’s grocery shopping time!  I needed to go to 3 stores: Whole Foods, Costco and Fred Meyer.

Normally I don’t go to Whole Foods (it’s just too darn expensive), but with a ‘spend $10 to get $20’ living social in my hands I thought it was the perfect time to go.  My living social actually didn’t cost me anything.  If you share your personal link and 3 people purchase the same deal, you get yours free which is what ended up happening to me!  With $20 free dollars on me I was excited to go.

Whole Foods spending: $46.03 – $20 living social – $15 face cream I wasn’t originally going to buy at a grocery store = $11.03

Next up was Costco.  I had 2 items to pick up – litter and soy milk + I wandered around the store jotting down prices.

Costco spending: $20.49

The final stop was Fred Meyer.  There is where I buy most of my bulk + produce + random grocery items.  I keep track as I go along so that I know how much I’m spending.  If it’s getting too tight I cut things I really don’t need.  Usually I’ll get my produce, dairy items, bulk then grocery items last.  I figure I can create meals best with fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, cheese and bulk items (beans, flours, nuts, seed, whole grains).  The grocery items just make life easier.

Tip: substitute while at the store… if a different brand of yogurt than you usually buy is half off, buy that (as long as it meets your standards).  Or if kale is cheaper than collards or chard, maybe this week pick that one up even if you really wanted the other.

Fred Meyer spending: $35.71

If that was all the spending that had happened I be high fiving myself right now.  But it’s not.  Jacob stopped at Safeway twice for Gatorade/PowerAde type drinks for him + his friend.

Safeway spending: $8.53

I kind of feel like I’m cheating by not including my face cream, but I really was going to pick it up at the mall first.  Then, once I found out my favorite face cream cost $28, I quickly put it down.  The lady said the price didn’t go up and size didn’t go down, but I know that was a lie. 

So here it is.  What we spend during our first new and improved week being budget-tastic (true word)…..

Grand total for the week:  $75.76

Yay, I’m uber excited about this!

Since going meat free our grocery bill slashing has been SO much easier.  Beans, tofu and whole grains are all much cheaper than any meat. 

I hope these tips help you.  They sure helped me along the way.  Next week I’m planning to snap a photo of what I bought… show you were the $75 is (wisely) spent.

Want to read more about budgeting and where I started?  Check these out…

Do you have any grocery bill slashing tips?  Please share!  I’ll compile the tips and share them all tomorrow.

Off to walk the dog… 60 degrees is much better than 50 degrees a couple days ago!

Happy Thursday all,

Heather

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Lauren A. @ Newest Obsession September 22, 2011 - 6:42 am

This is great! My fiance and I are in the process of trying to watch our grocery bill as well. Last month we spent $1,000 on groceries!! Out of control! I did a debt snowball too, and now I roll all that money in to my savings account and it feels awesome. Thanks for sharing your tips, I will definitely have to put some of these in to action this weekend.

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Get Healthy with Heather September 22, 2011 - 2:56 pm

I have spent close to $1000 before too… It’s fun during but not the aftermath of thinking, where did my money go?!

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Hilliary@ HappilyEverHealthy September 22, 2011 - 7:51 am

These are some great tips! I am always looking for ways to save money at the grocery store!

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Get Healthy with Heather September 22, 2011 - 2:57 pm

Hope they help 🙂

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Holly @ The Runny Egg September 22, 2011 - 8:45 am

How did I miss all of your budgeting posts? I love budgeting and rolling our debt snowball!

Great job on your food budget — I totally agree with you on subbing out with what you already have on hand. I definitely need to clean out my pantry soon and see what gems I have hidden in there.

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Get Healthy with Heather September 22, 2011 - 3:01 pm

I know you love budget stuff Holly! We should do a budget tip swap… maybe a blog swap on budgeting? Hmmmm my wheels are turning.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 22, 2011 - 10:03 am

Loved this post!! I definetly need to watch my spending 🙂

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Get Healthy with Heather September 22, 2011 - 3:02 pm

You and me both girl

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Erica September 22, 2011 - 10:10 am

Good for you guys! That is just fabulous. I loved all of the tips.

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Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries September 22, 2011 - 11:40 am

Awesome job!! My husband and I are very much for living debt free, so I think your goals are awesome! Way to stick to your plan!

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Get Healthy with Heather September 22, 2011 - 3:02 pm

Way to be debt free!

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Andrea@WellnessNotes September 22, 2011 - 1:26 pm

Great job! You are very organized, and I love your steps. I have to seriously tackle our food budget… Does your budget include all your meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for the both of you, including coffee, etc.? We don’t eat out a lot either, but I’m starting to feel really badly about our grocery bill… Better tackle it!

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Get Healthy with Heather September 22, 2011 - 1:29 pm

Yup it includes everything from breakfast to dinner. Coffee is made at home. We do on occasion go out for it but usually have a giftcard to use so it’s like free money-the best kind of money 🙂

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Simply Life September 22, 2011 - 5:52 pm

Great tips! I try to plan meals that use similar ingredients so it helps keep the costs down!

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Heather September 22, 2011 - 7:13 pm

Those are all great ideas. We just paid off our last credit card this summer and it felt fantastic! (We’ve been working on paying off five credit cards for almost 9 years and finally were able to do it). There are 6 of us in our family (I have 4 sons and my monthly grocery budget is $1020. It seems like a lot, but with 6 people and having to buy diapers it’s really not. One of the things that helped me stick to my budget when we were just starting out was to carry the money in the envelope like you suggested. It really helped me realize that when I ran out of money that it was gone and I couldn’t get more. I also shop at Costco and make an almost weekly trip there for eggs, milk, bread, and cereal. Once a month I buy diapers, wipes, laundry and dish detergent. That’s one of the reasons I have a monthly budget instead of a weekly. It just works out better for the weeks that I have a large Costco trip. Oh, and any money that is saved on any areas of our budget is put into a savings account.

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Isabelle September 23, 2011 - 12:23 am

This is great! I always sub ingredients in recipes to try and make use of what I have.

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did i meet my grocery budget? | Get Healthy with Heather September 28, 2011 - 5:14 am

[…] Slashing Grocery Bills from $100 –> $75 Weekly […]

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more ways to save | Get Healthy with Heather October 19, 2011 - 6:20 am

[…] if I could only get back on my $75/week for groceries… these past couple weeks have been the opposite of […]

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