You’ve seen the articles of women who coupon and have those huge stockpiles of diapers, toilet paper, and laundry detergent in their basements. You have watched in awe on television as they go through the store with their coupon book and load up three or four baskets of goodies and make it out of the store only having spent a few pennies, or dollars, on some occasions they even walk away having paid zero! Well this post is not anything like that. In fact, it may even be the complete opposite. However, I want to tell you how I finally hit rock bottom when it came to dealing with the monthly budget, especially when it came to dealing with groceries.
I am the first to admit that I am not the most savvy of shoppers. However, I do know how to spot a good deal, my problem is I too often get sucked in by good deals that I may not actually need. My local grocery store is H.E.B, now I could easily shop at Walmart, Costco, Fiesta, Whole Foods, or Randalls, but I’m lazy and H.E.B is right there. For those not familiar with the store, they offer in store coupons basically throughout the entire place. Everywhere you can find these yellow slips of paper for $1 off this item or buy this item and get this other item (or five items) free. Generally I go once a week or sometimes every other week and do my shopping. I always check the mailing ad before I go so I have an idea of what products are on sale and I can have a list. I also check ibotta to see if they are offering any rebates for items I buy regularly or for any of the items that are currently on sale. I then go to the store and do my best to stick to the list, sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t.
After my husband had his car accident this past October I was no longer able to drive to the store for my grocery shopping, so I started making purchases via instacart. Instacart was useful, and very convenient. However, after about a month of me doing that it was really showing itself to be quiet pricey as we were not getting the sales we usually get when we shopped ourselves. Because of this I checked the ads in order to buy what we needed for Thanksgiving Dinner. I car-pooled with my neighbor to the store. I realized while doing my shopping that there were some good products, on what I call, super sale. I decided it might be a good idea to stock up on a few extras of these and did so. They had a deal where if you bought a ham you got a turkey for free. I did this and choose to save the ham for Christmas (a few weeks later they had another deal where if you bought a ham you got a bunch of other stuff for free so I ended up buying a second ham). When I did the thanksgiving shopping I bought enough stuff to last us until the week after thanksgiving.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas my husband decided to switch jobs, as a result we did not have enough money to buy food. I was stuck with working with what we had. So I took a long look at what we had in the house, and I realized I had enough to last quite a while if I just got creative. So that is what I did, I got creative. When my husband finally got his paycheck the week before Christmas I went BIG grocery shopping. I did so planning for the food to last us at least three to four weeks, when combined with everything else I had. That is when I bought the second Ham. Christmas came and went and we started looking at the bills for January. We realized we were not going to have a lot to work with in terms of grocery money. However, we had been tighter than that before.
I choose to take it as a challenge. I made a list of everything we had in the house. I then made a list of what items I would need in order to make what we had last us until the end of January. The listed totaled around $40. We could definitely swing that. We are currently in the middle of the hardest grocery challenge of my life, the $40 month grocery challenge.
Between my fridge, freezer, and pantry I had nearly 200 food items, 136 of which were just in my pantry. I had little bits of different ingredients. A handful of nuts here, a half a gallon of milk there, and a bag of frozen broccoli stuffed in the rear. It didn’t make sense. As I looked at everything I really wondered about my shopping habits. I mean I’ve read all of the blogs about how to shop properly, but somehow along the way I ended up with full shelves while always claiming that there was nothing to eat. So I’m going for it. This is the month I accomplish the $40 month grocery budget. I promise to let you know how it goes.
I’m hoping that by doing this I will be able to use up a lot of the overstock I have in my pantry. Then in February my husband and I can work out a regular monthly budget for our groceries.
*Ibotta is a great app for anyone looking to earn some cash back on their grocery shopping trips, if you use my referral code lwhvots you can earn an extra $10 just for signing up. When you use my code I also receive a cash back incentive of $5, so help me keep my budget this month and use the above referral code and start saving money today!!!