Spending Less on Food: Using Cash and Stocking Up


Image by MFinderup

A few weeks ago, I told you I would share how I’m going to meet the challenge of only spending $50 per week on groceries instead of $200 per week for my family of four. At first glance, it seems impossible, but I am determined to make it work.  If for no greater reasons than to reduce waste (I am ashamed to admit how much that happens) and cut our budget by $600.  But those are pretty good reasons!

There are several simple steps to implement this budget change.  So as not to exhaust your attention span or mine, I will share two to three ideas each day over the next three days.  Hopefully, you’ll be armed with knowledge, tools and inspiration every time you make a trip to the grocery store.

An important step toward spending only $50 per week on groceries is to get that money in cash. That’s right, you heard me.  No more using that plastic debit/check card that seems so innocuous, but really causes you to spend more than you typically allot for groceries.  Get yourself an envelope, decorate it if you must, but put your grocery money in that envelope.  Whatever you don’t spend, goes back in the envelope.  This is simple.

On a side note, my husband and I were unsure how to start out this $50 per week shopping so we agreed to use $150 and then we’d supplement, if needed, with the remaining $50 for the rest of the month.  I’ll let you know if it works.  Also, in the $200 food budget, I am not including toiletries, household cleaners, etc.  I have budgeted an extra $50 per month for those items.

Stock up when you can. Since my husband is a salesman, he receives a commission check.  We never really know how much it will be until he receives it.  When we have what we consider to be a surplus, we stock up on non-perishables, paper products and toiletries.

What if you don’t get a commission check?  This is where your grocery envelope comes in handy.  If you’re diligent about purchasing only what you need and are able to save with special sales and coupons, you may find you don’t have to spend as much some weeks.  That leftover cash goes in the envelope thereby creating a surplus for you to stock up.

Tomorrow:  the all-important grocery list, planning a menu and splurges.


TEW (aka Mel)


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