Feb 11 2008

Better Budget Challenge #6: Trying something new with grocery shopping

Thanks to all of you who participated in my grocery challenge from last week. To see that challenge, please click here, and to see the roundup of last week’s participants, please click here.

This week, I’d like to challenge you to do something different. Even if you think you’ve found a method that works perfectly for you, why not try something new? If it doesn’t work, you’ll at least know for sure. And if it does, you could be pleasantly surprised.

I’ll leave it up to you to find out what you change, but here are some ideas:

  • If you’ve never used Coupon Mom, The Grocery Game, or My Grocery Deals, why not give them a shot to see how they work? All but the Grocery Game are free, and the Grocery Game offers a free trial period. Even if you don’t use coupons, check out those deals. You might be inspired to start couponing for some products.
  • If you only shop at one grocery (and that’s the way it’s always been) how about you try out a new store or two this week? It might take you a little longer to find your items initially, but you might find that prices are lower for some items at some stores. And if not? Then, at least you’ll know you’re getting the best deal at your regular stores.
  • If you’ve never tried a store such as Aldi, give it a go!
  • If you’ve been itching to visit a day-old bread store, local butcher, ethnic grocery, or other local food mart, visit it this week.
  • If you don’t typically use drugstore deals to supplement your grocery shopping, how about you try to implement that this week? If you have some Extra Care Bucks, but are well-stocked on all toiletries, consider using some to buy milk or cereal or items like that. Or, if you have some extra money on a Walgreens gift card, you could use that.
  • If you typically use a "stock the pantry" approach, why not modify that slightly and also shop for a specific menu in mind?
  • Or, if you typically plan for the week, why not also try to slowly stock your pantry if there’s room in your budget?
  • What else can you think of?

Even if you prefer "flying by the seat of your pants" when it comes to what you’ll eat for dinner each night (I’m looking at you, A! :) ) this week, try a menu plan, just for fun. You don’t have to plan what you’ll eat on certain days, (for example, if you plan something, it doesn’t have to be on Wednesday, you could just say, these are five meals that I will eat this week).

Plan your menu according to what you already have on hand, what’s on sale at the stores this week, and what sounds good.

If you make a good-faith effort to plan your menu and stick to it, and it doesn’t work, no worries. At least you tried. And, you could find that it really does save you time and money (because it typically does).

Next, to really kick it up a notch, calculate the cost of your dinners. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Read my post here explaining how to do that, or try using my recipe cost calculator.

If you don’t know exact prices, estimate to the nearest dime if you can. Estimate the cost of each ingredient used, and add it up. Hang on to your grocery receipts, so you can better calculate menu prices in coming weeks, if you’d like.

You might be surprised to find out how much (or how little) a particular dinner costs.

This can help you save money, because you might be more inclined to make the cheaper meals in the future, or eat them in weeks that you have more expensive dinners.

So, to recap, I’m challenging us all to:

  1. Try something new in our grocery shopping methods
  2. Plan our menu for the week
  3. Calculate the cost of our dinners

Wanna join in? Please post a link to your POST (not your homepage…cuz I’ll delete that and you’ll have to try again). I’d certainly appreciate a link back!


9 Responses to “Better Budget Challenge #6: Trying something new with grocery shopping”

  1. Saving money in the area of groceries has been a struggle for me. We like food way too much in our famil! :) But this week we only spent $45 and that included buying food to feed 15-20 people at our Bible study potluck. This challenge is really helping me to work hard to meet my goals. Thanks!

  2. This is a good challenge! I like trying new things!
    I decided to give the grocery game a shot, the trial seems like it won’t be too much of a loss if I don’t like it.
    I am hoping for the best though, it seems quite promising!

    Thanks for doing the challenge!

    Take Care


  3. I finally got around to doing the challenge. I always thought we didn’t have an Aldi near me, but there is one about a 1/2 an hour away – so I am trying it out!

  4. At your not so subtle suggestion, I created a menu. It may not be for this week, but I’ve got next week planned.

    We shall see how it maximizes my savings. Between the Grocery Deal, Aldi and my fancy smancy spreadsheet from last week I’m not sure there’s another penny I can squeeze out of my grocery bill.

  5. Hi,

    Just posted an entry that came from your challenge. On my way to Aldi today, we found a new supermarket. Basically, we didn’t make it to Aldi (that will be next week now), but at your suggestion I changed up my routine & got great deals at Price Rite (it’s a discount chain owned by Shop Rite).


  6. Alright. I’m going to jump in midweek and work on the Rite-aid flyer with my coupons that I have. I will also check out Coupon Mom (I already have an account) for extra savings. Thanks for the ideas.

  7. Are you going to be doing any more of these challenges? I’m new to your blog but I really enjoy reading these challenges.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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