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Monday, October 24, 2011

The $40/week Grocery Challenge Re-Visit...

A few months ago I came up with a challenge for myself: to grocery shop on a $40/week budget. Although it took more planning and effort than usual, it was well worth it.  I surprised even myself with how much I could save when I planned and edited my grocery shopping.  Now cut to present day and my weekly grocery bill is back up to the ceiling.  Its insane how quickly I slid right back into old habits.  So many of them come from a lack of time and impromptu trips to the store.  Its even worse now because I know from first-hand experience that I do NOT need to be spending this much each month on groceries!

I have decided to reign myself back in and try the $40/week challenge again.  As I compared things from when I was successful to now, these were the key things I found:

  1. Shop only once a week.  This takes organization and planning but I have found that I end up buying way more impulsively when I just run in for quick trips.  Especially when I don't have a list!
  2. Shop from your pantry first.  When I take stock of my pantry I always find that I have more things on hand than I would have thought.  Build meals around what you already have instead of just what you have a craving for.
  3. Clip coupons.  You don't have to be one of those women who can get $400 worth of groceries for $2.50 but 50 cents here and there does make a difference.
  4. Don't fall for every "deal."  Just because you can get 10 cans of cream of mushroom for $10 doesn't mean you need to.  Shopping weekly helps you keep perspective on what you need just for the next 7 days.
  5. Shop online.  Its simple: if you aren't physically in a store you are much less likely to buy things on a whim.  By using a system like the Harris Teeter Express Lane you can purchase what you need and stick to a budget.  Plus theres the whole convenience thing!
Its important that you are able to whittle down what your family "needs" for the week.  For seven days do you really need 3 different kinds of cookies or 4 different types of juice?  Also meal-planning is crucial.  The best way to shop smartly is to know what you need when you enter that store (or website)!

I will let you know how it goes for us next Monday!  Just so you know, last week I went in some what wanting stick to the $40 budget and ended up spending $80-something.  This Sunday I went in really wanting to not spend more than $40 and I ended up spending $64.  I am obviously improving but still have a ways to go!  Wish me luck next Sunday!


  1. I really need to reign in my grocery spending. It's embarrassing...

  2. It is positively stupid how much I spend for a family of 3!

  3. Just did the Express Lane at the 'Teet today! I feel like I have you to owe for my $50 grocery bill this week! Thanks for reminding me how AWESOME it is to do drive-by grocery shopping!


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