How much money do you spend on groceries every week?
If you’re like most families, it’s far more than you should.
I know that on Mondays I usually post a reader question, but today I really want to talk about money, because I’ve seen firsthand among some friends recently that money is one of the biggest causes of marital tension. If we could get a better handle on our money, the chaos in our lives would diminish considerably, as would the friction.
So today I’d like to talk about how we can save money on one of the items in our budget that’s the most malleable–the one where people tend to spend the biggest range, from hardly anything to the moon.
It’s in the grocery area of our budget where there’s the most room to tighten things up and get smart!
Keith and I are in Texas with our RV right now, getting ready to drive it back to Ontario after a few speaking trips we’ve had down south this year. And while we’re together in the RV we often go on a Dave Ramsey binge, listening to Dave’s YouTube videos and YouTube rants and talking about money. (Dave Ramsey is the awesome founder of Financial Peace University!).
A few weeks ago I was talking to my married daughter about how much she spends on groceries, and she and her husband are trying to keep it to $25 a week each. And they’re managing to do it! And they eat no packaged foods, only real food. My other daughter tries to get by on $35 a week.
Keith and I spend more, but we have more disposable income. And I’m super proud that they’re managing their money so well!
Recently I got in a conversation with a good friend, though, who spends $250 a week for her family of five. I wondered, “What would Dave say?” I looked up his ratio, and he suggests spending between 5-12% of your income on groceries. So a family that makes $40,000 a year should be spending $170-$400 a month on groceries. Yikes! That’s hardly anything.
So I started to wonder, could you actually do it?
And if a mom could–if you could take your grocery budget from $1000 a month to $400 a month (or lower), how could that change your life?
I’m a big believer that stay-at-home moms can earn an income–not by getting a job outside the home necessarily, but just by spending a lot of time researching how to save money and how to get the best deals on things. Think about this:
If you’re a stay-at-home mom and you can bring your grocery budget from $1000 a month to $400 a month, you’ve now earned an income of $600.
How would that feel?
And if you work outside the home, if you could take your grocery budget from $1000 to $400, that would be like getting a $600/month raise! That’s like earning $7200 more a year!
But is it even realistic?
And could you do it without eating crap?
My blogging friend Tiffany from Don’t Waste the Crumbs has a new course out called the Grocery Budget Bootcamp, where you learn the best ways to save money in the grocery store. I got a hold of it and perused the whole thing yesterday (and I’m going back to do the worksheets over the next little while, too!). But it is awesome. And she makes me feel like cutting the budget like that may not be so unrealistic after all!
Best of all, Tiffany is a big believer in real food. A few years ago her husband asked her if they could start eating real vegetables instead of canned ones. Tiffany had been a big couponer, and so they had concentrated their food budget at canned things. When she decided to start buying fresh produce and quality meats, she found that her grocery budget didn’t actually change. She ditched the coupons, got smarter and bought things that were actually important!
Full disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Tiffany’s course, but I really believe in it. And I want to share with you what she has to say.
When you think of tips to lower your grocery bill, you probably think of some important tips:
- Meal plan
- Shop with a plan
- Buy in bulk when possible–but only stuff you actually use!
- Stay away from store brands
These are all key, and Tiffany certainly mentions them (though she tells why our ideas of meal planning are often wrong!). But her tips go much further than this into helping us dissect where our grocery money actually goes, and where we can get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, in cutting that bill.
For instance, she teaches:
- The 80/20 rule: 80% of your grocery budget will tend to go towards 20% of the things that you buy. So finding ways to save on those 20% is way better than trying to save on the 80%!
- The 40% rule: 40% of our food gets wasted. So what can you do to stop wasting food? And can you use the stuff you normally throw out?
- Why traditional meal planning often backfires–and costs you more than it should (and she shows how to backwards meal plan and SAVE!)
- Why you should focus on foods that your family actually likes
- How to handle the grocery store like a boss (including what sales are worth watching for, and what ones are worth ignoring)
- The best substitutions you can make, to avoid buying things you’d only use a tiny bit of
- How to create a price book–and why you should!
- And so much more.
Tiffany really believes her goal is to change lives. And if people can cut their grocery bill in half–think of how fast they could make a dent at paying down dent!
When you buy the Budget toolkit, you get access to the 13 lessons for 12 months, plus a 250 page PDF workbook, and tons of worksheets! It’s all online (so you can watch it any time, anywhere!)
You can also upgrade to a program with a Facebook group, lifetime access, extra videos, and more! The VIP package includes lifetime access (not just one year), and a ton of extra videos (which I watched yesterday!), including:
- Should you pay with cash
- Budgeting for bulk purchases
- What not to buy at the grocery store
- Why keep a stocked pantry
- Grocery sales to ignore
- What to include in a real food pantry
- Shopping with food allergies
- How to eat less meat
- How to be a smart shopper
- How to stockpile produce
- Stretching meat at home
The Grocery Budget Bootcamp isn’t a quick fix. You have to do the work. You have to analyze what’s in your pantry, see your spending habits, look at what eats up most of your budget, and adjust. But when you do that work, it pays off. Big time.
She even deals with pesky problems like food allergies or picky eaters. You can still buy good quality food that satisfies everyone–for far less than you are likely paying now.
And it really does work! Jamie is on the GAPS diet (no grains, no fruit, no lactose, because of food intolerances), and her husband is on it too because it helps his ADHD. They were spending $850 a month on groceries before taking this course. Now, she says:
I got our budget down to $550. I’m actually finding that I can do even better and I believe I can shave our budget down to $400-$450. This is buying pastured eggs and meats and 90% organic veggies and fruits! If I can slash our budget in half while doing GAPS (most people claim it’s a very expensive way of eating) I believe anyone can, special diets or not.
And mom Rebecca from Ohio says:
I spent over $1000 December, $555 in January and just $330 in February. At this rate, I’m saving $738 every month!
So let me ask you: How much money are you throwing away every month in your grocery budget? And what would happen to your family if you could cut your grocery bill in half?
Honestly, I’m tired of seeing couples’ marriages fall apart because of stress, and so much of that stress is due to money. Too many people don’t have a handle on how much they’re spending, and don’t see a way out of huge bills. But what if there were a better way? What if you could feel empowered when you shop, instead of feeling discouraged like every week you’re getting further and further behind?
I heartily endorse The Grocery Budget Bootcamp. It was created by a mom just like all of you who simply wanted to get out of debt while still eating healthy food. She knows what it’s like to have kids not like what you prepare. She knows what it’s like to be rushing around so much one day that you realize you don’t have time to cook dinner. She knows what it’s like to have all your best laid plans fall apart because of emergencies.
She’s just like you. And she wants to help YOU find major savings and take control of your budget, too.
Laura from Illinois said:
In just two months, I’ve trimmed my grocery budget by 43%! This course is worth the investment… I’ve saved nearly 10 times what I paid before the course was even over!
I just want couples to stop having needless stress. I want us to put our money on important things, not throw it away. I want families to get ahead! And I think this is a simple way where women can make a HUGE difference in their families. So check it out!
And share with us: What’s your biggest challenge in keeping your grocery bill down? Do you waste a lot of food? Let’s talk in the comments!