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MARCH GROCERY CHALLENGE: Cut my spending by 21%

Like almost everyone, I am always looking for a way to cut monthly spending.

Recently, I was comparing my budget versus what I actually spend and I realized that a bulk of it, besides bills, is spent at the grocery store.

Our credit counseling advice is to find ways to save on groceries.

Our credit counseling advice is to find ways to save on groceries.

After going through all the receipts from February, I calculated that we spent $619.84 at the grocery store in one month! Blown away, because I don’t think we eat more than the average couple, I decided we need to get this under control. I mean $619.84 seems like enough to feed a family of five and it’s only the two of us. In our defense, we eat pretty much every meal at home (trying to only eat out at a restaurant twice a month), bring our lunch to work every day, and buy a lot of fresh produce.

According to the USDA, food costs went up 4.8% in 2011 and they are predicting a 3.5% increase in 2012. Although this plays a part in how much we spend; I think the major problem lies in the fact that we have gotten a little lax when it comes to some core money-saving strategies. And now is as good a time as ever to return to some smart-shopping methods, especially if you’re working on debt management.

There are thousands of tips out there about how to cut your grocery bill. Some are good and some are just dumb. I chose 6 tips/tricks that I am going to (try to) diligently follow for the entire month of March. Throughout this month-long challenge (I secretly love a challenge) I am going to track my grocery spending and give some updates on how it’s going. Hopefully by the end of the month I will be able to tell you what helped and what didn’t and maybe even discover some new tricks to share.

Like with any challenge, there needs to be a goal. I am going to be bold here and say that I am going to try my hardest to only spend $489.84 on groceries in March (Without starving myself or majorly altering the way I eat). This is a $130 (21%) decrease from what we spent last month! Please don’t stone me if I fall short.

Here are the 6 tips

  1. AFTER making your list, clip coupons for the things you need. (check supermarket websites for coupons too)
  2. Know your budget and bring only cash to the store with you.
  3. Avoid taking children (in my case, a junk-food-loving boyfriend) to the store with you.
  4. Use ALL the items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer before buying more.
  5. Buy non-grocery items (cleaning, health & beauty etc…) at mass market retailers like Target or CVS where they tend to be cheaper.
  6. Compare prices of the items at eye-level to the same items on the higher and lower shelves.

Stay tuned for an update. Wish me luck!

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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