Grocery Stores Are A Buffet For The Budget Breaker
When I say that a grocery store is a buffet you know exactly what I mean because it literally is a spread of food as far as the eye can see. Clearly walking into a grocery store without a plan is as dangerous as saying ‘I won’t eat that chocolate bar’ I swear, when it’s sitting unwrapped in front of your face.
We created our own budget spreadsheet last year and that was to help us keep track of our finances so we could save for what we wanted and spend when we needed. I am so convinced that a budget will help that I post our actual budget in detail every single month. A budget saved our finances and I hope you will consider using a budget and sticking to it.
Grocery Budget For 1
Before my wife and I got married grocery shopping for 1 was fairly simple but even then it’s easy to overspend. I was lucky because I lived in the UK and my refrigerator was the equivalent of a bar fridge in Canada so I couldn’t fit too much inside. I also didn’t have a pantry nor did I have a massive chest freezer like we do today. I think those three missing components actually helped me to stick to my grocery budget each week and gave me the upper hand when I went into the grocery store.
Grocery Budget For 2
Fast forward to me living in Canada with my wife and a house 3 times the size of my old house in the UK and we have space. We have a pantry, a cold room, a chest freezer and a big refrigerator and boy do we like to fill it up. We’ve been using coupons since the 2010 boom of the coupon craze, we were able to save thousands of dollars on everyday items that we won’t have to buy for many years now. Even though we don’t use coupons as much as we have in the past we still take full advantage of them every chance we can. We love to budget and that’s no surprise since the name of my blog is Canadian Budget Binder but we’re not perfect.
In fact, we were terrible at grocery shopping and sticking to the grocery budget. You know when you walk into a grocery store and you start seeing all those pretty pink stickers and reduced items or items you can use coupons on that weren’t on your list? Well, we almost always took advantage of that and essentially tossed our budget out the window.
The Grocery Game Challenge
I needed to challenge our grocery budget because I knew that was the only way we get our butts in gear and stick to a plan. We wanted to be debt free and pay off our mortgage before the age of 40 which we have accomplished but it wasn’t without the sweat of budgeting as a couple that got us to where we are today. Living in the Greater Toronto Area is not only pricey it can get even more expensive if you have to commute everywhere you need to go.
Planning our grocery shops and trips out during the week became imperative to save time, money on petrol and of course reap the rewards of flyer specials. We eat a fairly clean diet, meaning we don’t buy crackers, pop, chips or bars of any type. Our goal is to stick to our grocery budget of $235 a month for 2 including all health, beauty and laundry items plus a $20 stockpile budget.
If we don’t use the stockpile budget it gets put back into our savings account. It’s not easy and we struggle but the challenge has helped us so much over the past year and half, as well as many people from around the world that drop in each week to post their shops. It’s like a grocery budget check-in meeting for like-minded people who want to get control.
How do we do it? Good question and I’m going to share a few tips that we have learned during our time grocery shopping as a couple while using a budget.
Tips On How To Grocery Shop And Save Money In The Budget:
Create A Grocery Budget
This is one step that many people fail to do. It’s so important that you create a household budget so you know where your money is going and how much you can spend.
Use A List
I created many free downloadable lists on my blog that you can print for free that will help keep you organized. We print the lists and keep them in our budget binder so we have everything all in one place. Our shopping list is filled out each week and we match up coupon savings with flyer specials and price match when we can to save money. We also make sure to do a freezer inventory list and pantry list so we know what we have on hand at all times. A list is a great way to keep sane and not spend more than you have to.
Create A Plan
There are 2 types of plans I want to talk about here, a meal plan and a shopping plan. A meal plan simply means creating meals for the week and then going out to buy the food you need to prepare the meals. Many people like to create a meal plan from flyer specials but do what you need to so you don’t buy more food and for some ultimately create food waste.
If you are using a credit card to pay for groceries and it is too much for you because you just don’t pay it off in full each month, use cash. It’s great to use credit card for rewards points but if you aren’t paying the card in full you are not saving anything. Many people turn to using cash envelopes for their budget and that’s great. Do whatever it takes to help you stay on track.
Stick To The Plan
Do your best to not stray from the plan because In the long run you are only fooling yourself. Trust me when I say it’s difficult to catch up when you overspend on groceries each month. If you find a certain area of the grocery store is tempting, avoid it. I.E.: pop and chip aisles.
Eat At Home
I did a comparison about the costs of eating out compared to buying the food at the grocery store and making it at home. You would be shocked to see the numbers and how much we pay for the convenience to have someone cook for us and serve us when many of us are more than capable of doing it on our own. A splurge is good once in a while if you have the money set aside in your budget but eating out for the sake of not cooking will cost you big time.
If you struggle to stick to your grocery budget don’t beat yourself up each month and don’t think that you can’t eat good food just because you have a small grocery budget to work with. With simple planning and some easy math you are on your way to saving money that you can put towards other debts in your life or saving for something special you’ve always wanted to do.
This is a Guest Post Written As A Guest Post by: Mr.CBB, he is the voice behind Canadian Budget Binder