It seems like everyone and their mom wants to know how to cut your grocery bill down. Whether you’re trying to stop overspending on credit cards or want to spend less on groceries so you can hit a savings goal, this grocery-bill-cutting process works. If you stick to this, you will learn how to cut your grocery bill. It’s super simple, it just takes diligence! Are you ready?
REMEMBER, THERE’S NO COMPETITION
There is so much freedom in your grocery budget! Take that in. Sigh a deep breath of relief & let yourself off the hook!
Just because there’s a blog post about someone’s $20 organic grocery budget, it doesn’t mean that has to be your budget too. There’s no grocery budget competition.
In fact, you don’t have to cut your grocery bill. I used to always feel like I had to cut our grocery budget lower and lower. But then I realized, we were spending within our means and hitting other goals, so our grocery bill was fine.
If you have a grocery budget that you can afford based on your family’s income, financial goals, and lifestyle priorities, then great! Leave it alone and spend your energy thinking about something else.
But if you want to learn how to cut your grocery bill down, here’s what to do.
STEP 1: FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH YOU’VE BEEN SPENDING
If you’re not sure what you’ve been spending, do some homework. Check your online bank or credit card statements and add up every transaction at a grocery store last month. Are you spending more or less than you thought?
Though it’s tedious, this process will be very insightful. You can’t really spend less until you know what you were spending in the first place.
If you don’t want to go backwards in your bank statements to figure out previous spending, just sign up for YNAB (affiliate), start auto-categorizing your purchases. In one month, you’ll know how much you’ve been spending, and you’ll be able to more easily figure out how to cut your grocery bill.
Watch out though! YNAB is pretty darn eye-opening about your spending habits, and you might not like what you see. (Speaking from experience here…)
STEP 2: START WITH A LITTLE CUT
Baby steps are the key to cutting your grocery bill. If you aim to cut your grocery budget in half right away, you will probably fail, and end up really frustrated. It’s really hard to go from spending $800 a month to $400 a month.
Instead, aim for 10-20% lower than you’ve been spending and see if that’s doable. Going from $800 to $720 doesn’t seem like quite as big of a deal and you’ll be more motivated to keep cutting by the feeling of a “small” win!
And even if you only cut $83/month, that’s $1,000 a year. Which is a fun vacation every 3 years. See how that works!?
STEP 3: CHANGE BUDGET-BREAKING HABITS
I recently noticed that we had gotten in the habit of having my husband make several quick grocery stops throughout the month on his way home from work… an ingredient I forgot, a bottle of wine, milk for tomorrow. If he makes 6 extra stops in a month at $10 each, that’s an extra $60! That’s a big chunk of our weekly grocery budget.
By just deciding not to have him stop anymore, we easily cut that $60 from our grocery bill.
If you find yourself impulsively driving through a lot to get takeout, that can really add up too! Especially if you’re getting takeout for a family. Try cooking dinner in the mornings or making a few freezer meals on Sunday.
Analyze recent habits that might be contributing to a grocery bill that’s too high. Think about what triggers those habits! Are you rushed between work and Wednesday evening activities? Could you make an extra meal on your day off to solve that takeout day?
Do you throw a lot of food away? If so, buy less!
Do you have TONS of food in your pantry going to waste? Try this website that finds recipes with ingredients you already have.
What other habits can you change to lower your grocery budget?
WISE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IS…
Deciding what the best use of your limited time and financial resources are in your current season of life.
So, what’s your season? What are your priorities? What do you have time and money for?
As a stay-at-home-mom, I have more time to meal plan around the sales than someone who is working 50 hours per week and coming home to hungry, tired children after work.
At the same time, I work part time from home on this blog. So, I spend the nap time hours each day working instead of doing intense menu planning or coupon cutting.
Though we are frugal in order to get out of debt and save up for a down payment, we also choose to prioritize hosting our friends. So, we spend more than we might if we never had anyone else over to dinner.
The bottom line is: Know your season of life. Then, plan and budget accordingly.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
This process is a learning curve. I’ve been meticulously grocery budgeting (and blogging about it!) for a couple years and still go over budget, forget a menu plan sometimes, or fail to plan accordingly… Exhibit A below. HA! Give yourself grace and keep trying. You can do it! Sign up for my newsletter or comment below if you have questions or want to share ideas!
We were out of food and I forgot to put in my Walmart Grocery Pickup order… The penalty was having to take 3 kids under 4 to Walmart. Not pictured: my 2 year old hanging off the front of the cart like a maniac.
This post is part 2 of a 3-post series to help you simplify & get control of your grocery budget once and for all!
Post #2: How to Cut Your Grocery Bill